Injuries often happen in the home - and often due to unsafe conditions such as missing handrails, tripping hazards and general disrepair. Trips, slips, falls and other injuries can lead to lasting physical problems and significant medical expenses. Who is responsible for these expenses? When you don't own the property you live in, the answer to that questions is pivotal for determining what rights you have. Property owners in California have a legal duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition. But what about rental properties? As the tenant, you have access and control over the premises. Yet the landlord still has some responsibilities.
Ask yourself these questions
Your landlord may be responsible for your injuries if their negligence was somehow a factor in your accident. For example:
- Did the landlord know about an obvious danger - such as a broken step, uneven flooring or unstable balcony - yet do nothing to fix it within a reasonable time frame?
- Did the landlord's neglect of basic maintenance or repairs contribute to the injury?
- Did the landlord perform haphazard repairs that contributed to your injury?
- Did the injury occur in a common area (such as a shared entrance or stairway) that the landlord had a duty to keep in safe condition?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may very well have a personal injury claim against the landlord.
On the other hand, you likely won't have a claim if:
- The dangerous condition was your responsibility (such as spills on the kitchen floor or unkempt areas that create tripping hazards).
- The landlord was in the process of getting the condition repaired and placed warning signs around the hazard.
Get a professional opinion
Of course, every case is different, which is why you should always speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your situation. It's well worth the time upfront to protect your rights.