If you suffer an injury at home and you are a renter, you may not be liable for your medical costs. In fact, you may even be covered for lost work and for any pain or suffering you had to endure. This is because the property owner – your landlord – could be responsible due to premise liability. The following can help you determine if this is the case.
How did the injury occur?
The first deciding factor is the actual cause of the injury. If you are injured by your own personal possessions, even in a rental home, then you will likely be considered responsible. For example, if you trip over your area rug and break your ankle. If the injury cause can be traced back to an existing piece of the property, such as tripping over an improperly installed carpet in the rental home, then the property owner may be found responsible.
Was there neglect?
As with most personal injury cases, intent has to be shown. In most cases this in the form of neglect. For a legitimate personal injury claim you will need to be able to prove this neglect. This can be as simple as the landlord failing to disclose a condition about the property. For example, if there is any chance that there is lead paint in the property, the owner must disclose this. If you suffer lead poisoning and the owner neglected to disclose the information, then you have a case. Other forms of neglect include failure to make necessary repairs as outlined in the lease agreement and by state tenant laws.
Who is ultimately responsible?
In some cases responsibility may be yours if there is an agreement in the lease contract stating that the tenant is responsible for certain types of repairs. For example, the lease may state that the tenant is responsible for lawn care. If you are injured because a branch fell out of the tree, you may not be able to hold the owner responsible since it was your responsibility to keep trees properly pruned.
Was the owner aware of the issue that lead to the injury?
One of the final pieces needed to build your case is proof that the owner had been notified of the issue and failed to remedy it in a timely manner. If you notified the landlord that the carpet was loose and no repairs were made, then responsibility is on the landlord. For this reason, it's a good idea to report all repair needs or property issues in writing and mail them with a return receipt or keep copies of all email correspondence.
For more help, contact a personal injury attorney or law firm like Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA in your area.