Whether a tenant can sue a landlord for personal injury depends on the circumstances of the case.
When Might a Landlord Be Liable for a Tenant’s Personal Injury?
A landlord has a responsibility to keep the property reasonably safe from danger. The law states property owners must take reasonable care to prevent dangerous conditions. If they find out about a dangerous condition, they must fix it or warn visitors about it.
If the landlord fails to keep the property safe and you suffer injuries, you might be entitled to compensation.
Suing for an Injury
You can if your physical injuries happened because the landlord did not maintain the property or make repairs.
Example: You fall on the stairs because of a broken handrail. The landlord knew about the broken handrail and had time to fix it, but did not.
Suing for an Assault or Break-In
A landlord can be liable if the criminal acts were something he knew could happen, but did not prevent.
Example: A criminal gets in your apartment because your door did not have a deadbolt, or your windows do not lock. Even though there were break-ins in the past, your landlord did not install deadbolts or window locks. Your landlord could be liable for any injuries you suffered because of the intruder.
Example: The parking lot or other common areas are dark with no lighting. Someone sneaks up and attacks you in the parking lot where it is dark. The landlord could be liable for inadequate lighting.
What Can I Expect When Suing My Landlord?
To Be Successful, Your Lawyer Must Prove Four Things
You cannot just claim your landlord is responsible for your injury. A valid claim requires proving:
- There was a hazard or dangerous condition on the property.
- The property owner or manager knew, or should have known, about the danger.
- The property owner failed to remove, protect you from, or warn you of the danger.
- The hazard resulted in injury or death.
Your lawyer must gather evidence and build a strong case to prove the property owner was at fault.
The Insurance Company May Offer You an Immediate Settlement
The property owner’s insurance company may offer to settle right away. Its goal is to save money, so it will not offer all you deserve. The settlement usually only covers your early medical care and a few days of lost wages. But what if your recovery takes longer or you are unable to return to work? If you settle too early, you will have to cover those costs on your own.
Talk to a lawyer first before you accept any settlement or even give a statement to the insurance company. If you settle for too little now, you cannot get more later for ongoing care or other expenses.
The Landlord or Insurance Company Will Try to Blame You for the Accident
The landlord will try to prove that you did something wrong. Did something you were doing contribute to or cause the accident? Was it because of something you did to the property? If you fell, was it because of the shoes you had on? The landlord wants to show that you share at least part of the blame for the accident.
Sheryl Burke and her team will determine what evidence, if any, the landlord has against you and create defenses against any accusations.
And because Sheryl Burke spent time as an adjuster before opening her personal injury firm, she knows how insurers operate and how they approach these cases. She will ensure that you do not make any statements that jeopardize your case or allow the insurance company to reduce your settlement.
When Might My Landlord Not Be At-fault?
The landlord is responsible for keeping the property safe, but that does not mean every injury you suffer is the landlord’s fault. You might be at-fault if you caused a hazard or if you knew about one but did not alert the landlord.
For example, if the floorboard in your apartment broke, the landlord is responsible for fixing it. However, if it broke, you never let him know, and you tripped over it, you might be at-fault.
You will likely also be at-fault if the bookshelf you installed falls on you, that injury will be your responsibility because the landlord had nothing to do with it.
Let S. Burke Law Protect Your Rights and Fight for You
In Georgia, with some exceptions, you only have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury. You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.
If you live in Georgia, call 404-842-7838 today for a free consultation with the S. Burke Law team.