If you’re injured within your apartment complex, you may be curious about whether or not you can file a lawsuit against your landlord. To learn more about how landlords can be liable for causing accidents that occur in stairwells, hallways, and outside, and what you can do after you’re involved in a slip and fall accident in your apartment complex, keep reading.
On average, there are approximately eight million emergency room visits each year because of falls—with another million occurring because of slips.
Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
To determine whether or not you have a premises liability claim against your landlord, you need to think about how they may have been liable for causing your accident. There must be negligence present if your claim is going to be successful; without negligence, there’s no liability.
In order to win your slip and fall case, you and your attorney must be able to prove that your landlord was negligent. This means that your landlord must have caused or failed to prevent the conditions that resulted in your accident.
On top of that, you’ll also need to prove that they knew about the hazardous conditions or should have known about them in order to fix the conditions. If there was no way for them to reasonably know that the conditions existed before the accident, you may not have a case.
Proving Liability Against Your Landlord
To prove liability against your landlord, your slip and fall case will need to be well-documented. You should always take pictures of the accident scene, your bruises, and any injuries you’ve experienced as soon as you can.
The condition of the accident scene can change quickly, as landlords may be in a hurry to get it fixed after the accident. If you don’t have any documentation of the hazard before it’s fixed, your case will be much more difficult.
Security cameras and witness statements can also be incredibly helpful in proving liability against your landlord. Take note of any cameras you see and get the information of all witnesses if possible.
Causes of Slip and Falls at Apartment Complexes
There are many different areas in your apartment complex that can cause slip and falls to occur. It’s important to remember that slip and falls are 100% preventable, meaning that they can always be prevented with proper maintenance to the apartment complex.
Wet and Slippery Floors
Water may leak from the ceiling or roof inside of one’s apartment or home. Leaks may also occur in the common areas, such as hallways and clubhouses.
If you previously complained about the leak in your home and your landlord didn’t come to fix it within a reasonable time frame, you have a good framework in place for your case. Especially if it’s well documented.
Unfortunately, it may be hard to make a case sometimes. Insurance companies will argue that you knew there was a leak in your home. Therefore, you should have made more of an effort to avoid the area. If the leak was in a place you couldn’t avoid, this argument is often null.
Poor lighting makes most hazards worse. If you can’t see that a parking lot is full of potholes or if a step is missing, you’re more likely to hurt yourself. Good lighting is required in all spaces so people can make their way through the apartment complex without hurting themselves.
If lights are out or broken and the landlord hasn’t repaired them within a reasonable time frame, you may be able to hire a premises liability lawyer and file a claim against your landlord.
Stairwells are especially dangerous if they’re not repaired right away. There are many different types of hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents in apartment complexes, such as:
- Wrong paint used on steps making them too slippery
- Not having a handrail when one is required
- A broken or incorrect type of handrail
- Chipped or broken steps
- Steps missing traction tape (in commercial properties or on certain materials)
- The steps weren’t proportioned correctly, meaning some are higher than others
Hazards in the Gym, Pool Area, or Other Common Spaces
Hazards don’t just occur in stairwells, hallways, and inside your apartment. They can also occur in common areas around the complex, such as in the gym or at the pool. However, these hazards are much harder to pin on the landlord, as injuries that occur in these areas are often the fault of the victim. For example, running on slippery surfaces near the pool or using weights incorrectly.
However, if the hazard is the fault of your landlord, your landlord may be held liable. Examples of landlord negligence include inadequate lighting, cracked or broken flooring, and leaks.
How Much is a Slip and Fall at an Apartment Building Worth?
It can be hard to say exactly how much your slip and fall injury is worth. There are many different factors that play into your claim’s value, such as:
- How severe are your injuries? Severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury often result in higher claim values.
- What are your total damages? The higher your damages are, the more you’ll receive in compensation.
- How much insurance coverage does your landlord have? If they have little to no insurance coverage, you may be left paying for your own damages out of your own renter’s insurance policy.
- Was there gross negligence involved? How bad were the conditions that caused your accident? The worse the conditions were and the more your landlord was negligent can increase your claim’s value.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall at an Apartment Complex
As previously stated, the most important thing for you to do after your accident is to gather evidence in the form of pictures. You should also get witnesses’ information. After you leave the accident scene you should seek immediate medical attention and then contact an attorney.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident inside an apartment complex, please contact one of our talented personal injury attorneys for more information. We have years of experience working on premises liability cases, and we’re ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve.