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Slips and Falls on Rental Property

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Who is responsible for your slip and fall on a rental property?
If you have slipped and fallen inside or outside a rental property your landlord may be liable, but it all depends on where you fell, and why.

Injuries due to Negligence
In a personal injury case claims are likely to be successful if it can be proven that someone was negligent. If no-one is found to be negligent then no-one will be liable.

With regards to a slip and fall case on a rental property, you will need to prove that your landlord was negligent if you want to win your case. However, you should be aware that just because you slipped and subsequently fell, it does not mean that your landlord will be found negligent.

If you wish to prove that your landlord was indeed negligent you will have to prove that your landlord failed to prevent or caused the fall.
You should also be aware that you will have to prove that your landlord should have reasonably known or knew that your rental apartment or house was in an unsafe condition.

A Slip and Fall Inside your Rental Accommodation

If for example, the stairs in your rented house were damaged and they caused you to slip and fall, you could only hold your landlord liable if they knew or should have known of the damaged stairs. If you had known about the damaged stairs for a while and you had not informed your landlord you are unlikely to win your claim. This is because the landlord was not aware of the damage, and therefore did not have the opportunity to mend it.

One of the only ways that your landlord can be liable for your slip and fall is if you did not inform them of the damaged stairs, but they were damaged in such a way that any reasonable landlord would have been aware of the damages. However, if the stairs were badly damaged when you moved into the property a court could argue that you would have been aware of the damage and that you would have known that the stairs may have caused an injury.

If you had made your Landlord Aware

If you had made your landlord aware of the damage to the stairs and they failed to fix the issue, causing you to slip and fall, it’s likely that your landlord will be found liable. You should be aware that slip and fall cases aren’t always very easy to win. For example, a jury may decide that you should have been a lot more careful if you knew that the stairs were damaged.

A Slip and Fall Outside of the Accommodation/In Communal Areas

Imagine that you slipped and fell on some ice on the sidewalk outside your home. Depending on your lease, your landlord may not be found liable as it may not have been their responsibility to warn you or get rid of the ice.
If your landlord lives in a different state it’s likely that your lease will say that it’s your responsibility to get rid of the ice, regardless of whether you told your landlord about it.

Imagine that you slipped and fell on a substance in the communal area outside your apartment. It’s likely that you won’t win your claim if the landlord is not obligated to clean the substance up and if they could not have known that the substance was there. If it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the communal area clean and safe, you may need to prove that they were either aware of the substance, or that they should have been aware of it.

Proving your Landlord is Liable
In order to prove liability in your slip and fall case, you will need to take photographs of your injuries, the clothes you were wearing, and the scene of the accident. A photograph can be hugely valuable in a slip and fall case as it can detail what happened, what caused the accident, and if negligence was involved. If for example, you slipped on a broken floor tile and fail to take a photograph of it, by the time you take the case to court the tile could have been mended. While the mended tile may show signs of repair, there will be very little or no evidence to prove that it caused you to fall, and you’re unlikely to win.
Make a note of what has happened as soon as you can. See Personal Injuries: Preserving Evidence after an Accident for more information.

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One thought on “Slips and Falls on Rental Property”

  1. Cindy Mullins says:

    I rent from a lady, and fell down steps that are, wooden and moss covered, what, should I do I've really hurt my back badly

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