If you slip and fall on your leased or rented property, you may assume you can sue the property owner. More often than not, this is not the case. In order to win the case, you and your slip and fall lawyer have to prove the property owner caused you to get hurt, or that they knew there was a danger and they neglected to address the problem.
- What does the lease say?
If you have a lease that says you are responsible for clearing the snow and ice off your walkway, and you slip and fall on the ice, you will not win that case. You clearly were responsible for the situation that caused your fall. However, if the lease says that the landlord is responsible for keeping the walkway clear of snow and ice and if they had a reasonable amount of time to clear the hazard, they may be liable for any injuries you sustained from a fall.
- Property in a state of disrepair
This can go either way. If you are the tenant and you know there are some issues that are dangerous, you are expected to avoid getting hurt, if possible, on those hazards. But, if you are concerned about a problem, and you have reported it to your landlord, and you try to avoid the problem, yet you end up slipping anyway, the landlord could be found at fault.
- Building codes and legal standards
There are some cases where the landlord is at fault and there is little room for doubt. There are legal standards on things like stairways, lighting, emergency exits, and storage of certain items. So, if the stairs were broken, which violated the building code and this caused you to slip and fall, you have a strong case against the landlord.
What to Do When You Have an Accident
- Take pictures – Ice, snow, water, even uneven grounds, torn carpet and other things can change from traffic to the area. Take pictures of the area and surrounding space immediately. This will also show there were no warning signs or barriers up to protect you.
- If you are too hurt to do this, ask someone else to take the pictures.
- Always seek medical attention first.
- Photograph your bruises, cuts, and injuries as well as your clothing to show the damages it caused.
- Gather information from any witnesses to the accident.
- If you and other tenants have reported this issue to the landlord, gather copies of those letters, dates, times, and conversations.
- Do not give statements to the landlord or the landlord’s insurance company
- Do not sign anything admitting guilt or accepting an offer of settlement.
- Contact your attorney and let them advise you of the next steps
Your health and well-being are first and foremost. Taking care of your injuries trumps anything else. Proceed with caution and let an attorney guide you. Remember, some injuries cause lifelong problems. Some injuries require multiple stages of therapy and treatment before they are repaired. Some never heal. If you are hurt because of someone else, let the courts and slip and fall attorneys help you recover.