If the landlord acted (or failed to act) in a manner that qualifies as negligence, you can hold them financially responsible for the cost of your injury.
Landlords can take several measures to protect their tenants. If a landlord failed to take reasonable action to protect you, they failed in their duty of care. A skilled premises liability lawyer will review your case and explain if your landlord was negligent.
Basic Safety Measures Every Landlord Should Perform
If injuries happen on a rental property, the victim must ask: Could my landlord have done something to prevent this?
As you seek to answer this question, consider whether your landlord:
Fixed or Ignored Any Problems You Brought to Their Attention
The most glaring cases of negligence involve a landlord ignoring a problem the tenant brought to their attention.
The cost of rent should cover reasonable repairs, but landlords too often ignore or delay repairs because:
- They do not want to spend money (especially if there is no obvious financial benefit to spending the money)
- They do not believe your report about a problem
- They believe there is a problem, but it is not serious enough to warrant urgent attention
- They have another solution for fixing the problem that takes longer (such as fixing it themselves rather than immediately hiring a handyman)
About 35 percent of the American population rents, and landlords vary drastically in their care for tenants. However, even the most hands-off landlords should respond with reasonable speed when a tenant reports an issue, especially if the problem can cause injury.
Installed Anti-Slip Flooring
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most foreseeable hazards renters face.
Slips can occur because of:
- Flooring material that is naturally slick, like tile
- Uneven surfaces
- Poor drainage in areas where rainfall can become a hazard
- Loose debris on the property
Landlords should install anti-slip flooring in areas where slipping is a foreseeable hazard, such as on stairs and in bathrooms. Older renters have a heightened risk of slipping, falling, and suffering injuries.
Even if a tenant is young and fit, a landlord should take reasonable measures to prevent slip and fall accidents.
Ensured All Walkways (Including Stairs) Could Handle an Adult’s Weight
Walkways and stairs may be prone to wear quickly.
A landlord must take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of walking surfaces, which may become dangerous due to:
- Loose tiles or carpet
- Slickness due to wear and tear
- Other imperfections
If you tripped, slipped, or fell because of defective flooring, you can hold your landlord responsible for the resulting injuries.
Updated Appliances as Needed
Outdated or defective appliances can become dangerous. For instance, an old stove may be more likely to have a gas leak than a new stove. An outdated dryer may pose an unacceptable risk of burns or electrocution.
Once it becomes clear that an appliance is no longer safe, a landlord must replace it.
Protected You from Burn and Electrocution Hazards
Landlords should enclose pipes, wiring, and other hazards before a tenant takes residence in a property. If any burn or electrocution hazards can foreseeably cause harm to a tenant, a landlord has failed in their duty of care.
Install Adequate Lighting Inside and Outside the Property
Lighting is a vital way of keeping tenants safe, as adequate lighting can:
- Help the tenant walk around safely in dark or dim conditions
- Expose potential hazards during the night
- Keep potentially harmful animals and humans away from the property
- Reduce the likelihood that a tenant will trip, slip, or suffer other harmful events
Provided Adequate Security
You can hold a landlord responsible for the tenant’s security. Whether it means installing locks, cameras, lighting, or other security measures, a tenant is safer in a secure property. If you suffer injuries because of inadequate security on the rental property, you may sue the landlord.
Each state has an agency that enforces tenant rights. However, if you already suffered injury because of a tenant’s failures, hire a premises liability lawyer. A lawyer will obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Steps to Take When a Landlord’s Failures Cause You Injury
Any injured tenant may have two priorities:
- Their physical health and psychological well-being
- Securing fair compensation for their injury-related damages
You can take several steps with these two priorities in mind.
How to Prioritize Your Health After an Accident on a Rental Property
You can take several steps to ensure your immediate safety and promote recovery after a premises liability incident, including:
- Seeking medical attention from a qualified provider
- Requesting imaging of any possible injuries (which may include X-rays, MRIs, and a CT scan)
- Requesting that the doctor provide a written diagnosis of your injuries
- Asking the doctor what you should to to promote healing
- Obtaining copies of medical records and bills
You may also keep personal journals detailing your injury symptoms, including mental health difficulties. These records may help your attorney seek a fair settlement that reflects your health problems.
How to Fight for Your Financial Recovery From a Negligent Landlord
The first step you may take to prioritize your financial recovery is hiring a personal injury lawyer. An attorney will make your financial recovery their priority. You can focus on your recovery while your attorney fights for your financial recovery.
What Damages Will a Premises Liability Lawyer Seek Compensation For?
Your attorney will demand fair compensation for any economic and non-economic damages caused by your landlord’s negligence.
Your recoverable damages may include:
- Medical bills: If you need any medical attention because of your injuries, your lawyer will include those bills in your case. If you suffered a disabling injury, your attorney will work with lawyers to project the cost of your future care.
- Professional harm: When landlords are negligent, they often cause their victims to miss work while they recover. This can cause lost income, missed bonuses and promotions, lost benefits, and other professional damages.
- Pain and suffering: If you experience physical pain, psychological distress (including depression and anxiety), or emotional anguish, your lawyer will seek fair compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Treatment costs related to your pain and suffering: If you need counseling, medication, or any other treatment for pain and suffering, mental health experts may help your lawyer calculate the cost of your care. Your landlord or other liable parties may cover the cost of this treatment.
- Any other economic or non-economic damages caused by your landlord’s negligence: If you suffer any other harm from your landlord’s negligence, your lawyer will include those damages in your lawsuit or claim.
Your lawyer will work with you to value your case, as you may have unique insight into pain and suffering, professional harm, and certain other damages. Your law firm may also hire experts to help ensure the accurate valuation of your case.
What Can I Expect From My Attorney?
Expect your attorney to handle every detail of your premises liability case. Though each lawyer caters their services to their client, common duties by premises liability attorneys include:
Identifying Specific Forms of Negligence by Your Landlord
Your lawyer will investigate the circumstances of your injury, identifying any types of negligence that caused you harm.
This process may lead your lawyer to:
- Visit the scene where you suffered an injury
- Photograph and videotape any hazards that contributed to your injury
- Create a written account of events
- Hiring experts to reconstruct the events that caused your injury
Your attorney will do everything necessary to document your landlord’s negligence.
Calculating and Documenting Your Damages
Your attorney can document and calculate your damages with medical bills and records, past income statements, and expert opinions.
Leading Settlement Negotiations
Your law firm will negotiate with insurers, civil defense lawyers, or any other party that owes you compensation. Negotiating skills may improve with experience, so hire a law firm with many settlements on its resume.
Proceeding to Trial, if Necessary
Though most premises liability cases result in a settlement, your lawyer should maintain trial as an option. You may need to go to court if the liable parties won’t offer you a fair settlement.
Overseeing All Other Aspects of Your Case
Your lawyer will manage every other detail of your case, including:
- Communications (including exchanges with insurance representatives)
- Court appearances
Your lawyer will advise and update you throughout your case. With an attorney leading your fight for compensation, you can focus on your recovery without worrying about the progress of your case.
What Is the Cost to Hire a Lawyer to Sue My Landlord?
Hiring a premises liability lawyer will come at no out-of-pocket cost to you. This is because personal injury lawyers typically use contingency fees.
As a client, a contingency fee means that:
- You will not pay your law firm upfront
- The law firm will hire experts, cover filing fees, and pay all other case-related costs
- The law firm will receive their fee as a percentage of your financial recovery
- The law firm will only receive payment if you receive payment
A contingency fee aligns the financial motivations of the lawyer and client. This fee structure also protects you from direct financial risk.
Can I Seek Compensation from My Landlord Without a Lawyer’s Help?
If you are even considering handling your own insurance claim or lawsuit, you should know that:
- It is not a guarantee your landlord will provide the compensation you deserve: Nobody should assume that a negligent landlord will admit fault and pay them fairly. You may need to fight for the compensation you deserve and will be most comfortable and confident with a lawyer leading that fight.
- Premises liability cases require substantial time and energy: Do you have the energy or strength to lead a winning premises liability claim or lawsuit? If not, hire a lawyer to take your case off your hands.
- A law firm will protect your rights: A lawyer will stand as the buffer between you and anyone who wants to see your case fail, such as insurers or civil defense attorneys.
- Leading your own case can compromise your physical and financial health: If you initiate your case before you are fully healthy, you may expose yourself to further injury and mental health difficulties.
Premises liability lawyers get justice for victims of negligence. Let a lawyer do their job for you.
Don’t Wait to Hire Your Premises Liability Lawyer
The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they will begin building your case. Attorneys generally have deadlines for filing landlord negligence cases, so don’t wait to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney serving your location.