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Determining When the Landlord is Responsible for a Slip and Fall

The term slip and fall is often used in personal injury cases in which a person slips or trips on someone else’s property. This type of personal injury case can also fall into the category of a premise liability claim.

Typically, slip and fall cases will occur on someone else’s property, and when this is the case, the owner of the property may actually be responsible for any injuries that may have been sustained due to the slip and fall.

Rental Properties

While slip and fall cases are pretty straightforward when it comes to most residential and commercial cases, the lines may become a bit blurred if you are renting a property and you slip on the premises. When are you able to, as a renter, hold the landlord responsible for your injuries?

To establish a slip and fall case, to begin with, one must prove that negligence was the cause of the fall. If negligence cannot be proved, then there is absolutely no case for liability. Therefore, you must be able to adequately prove that your landlord is indeed the reason why you slipped, and they are the negligent party.

Proving negligence on the part of a landlord may be difficult to do, however, because even if the conditions are currently unsafe, it doesn’t automatically mean that the conditions are due to the failure of the landlord to make necessary repairs.

The landlord will have had to previously know about the unsafe conditions on the property prior to the slip and fall incident.

Slip and Fall Inside the Rental Property

Let’s say for example, that there is an area of your roof that is leaking. That leak is causing droplets of water to leak through the ceiling and land on the floor inside the rental unit. Did the landlord know about the leak? If it is a new leak and you have yet to contact the landlord to inform them, then you will most likely be unable to prove negligence.

On the other hand, if it was a known issue and it had already been reported, and the landlord failed to remedy the situation, then you can most likely prove liability in this scenario. However, there may be other underlying issues here as well, especially if the property is in that kind of condition.

Slip and Fall Outside the Rental Property

Let’s say you slipped or tripped on one of the stairs outside leading up to the property. Did you slip and fall due to some kind of substance on the stairs? Or is there a defect that has caused damage such as a crack or broken step?

If you slipped on some substance, then it is not your landlord’s fault. However, if you fell because the step was in some way defective and the landlord did not make the necessary repairs to make conditions safe for tenants, then you may have a personal injury case.

Proving Liability

As with any personal injury case, it is imperative that you document the information. Take photographs of the area in which the accident occurred as well as pictures of the interior and exterior of the property. Can you prove that you had informed the landlord previously of unsafe conditions?

If you find that you need assistance with gathering the appropriate documentation or following the steps necessary to seek compensation, you can seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney to help navigate you through the process and let you know if you have a strong case or if you will not be able to prove negligence and liability.