Can I Sue My Landlord for a Slip-and-Fall at My Apartment?

New York landlords have an obligation to maintain reasonably safe conditions at their rental properties. When a landlord fails to satisfy that obligation, a tenant or guest will have a valid cause of action against the landlord. This includes any slip and fall injuries that are the direct and proximate result of the landlord’s negligence.

This does not suggest that an injured tenant can sue the landlord for every accident. Liability in every slip-and-fall case will depend on the specific facts. Accordingly, the New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas and London recommend that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your opportunity to recover damages will improve if you act quickly before any facts are lost, or witness memories begin to fade.

What Kinds of Slip-and-Fall Accidents Create Liability for a Landlord?

In general, a landlord will be liable for slip and fall injuries if they knew or reasonably should have known about safety hazards and risks. They are responsible if the injuries from those risks were foreseeable, and if the landlord had an opportunity to fix them and didn’t. Within these limits, an injured tenant or guest will more likely have the right to sue for injuries, caused by:

  • snow or ice that accumulated in public areas around a rental building after a landlord knew or should have known about the accumulation but did not remove it within a reasonable amount of time.
  • building code violations (e.g., loose or missing handrails on steps, broken floorboards, etc.) that the landlord knew about but failed to fix.
  • general property defects or inadequate maintenance that exposes tenants and guests to unreasonable risks (e.g., leaks in gutters and downspouts that leave pools of standing water, uncollected trash that exposes tenants and guests to risks of tripping, etc.).

What Will You Have to Show to Recover Slip-and-Fall Damages from a Landlord?   

Slip and fall lawsuits are a subset of general negligence liability law. A person who suffers an injury at a rental property will, therefore, need to show that:

  • the landlord owed a duty to that person to provide safe premises.
  • the landlord breached that duty.
  • the landlord’s breach was the direct and proximate cause of the slip-and-fall accident, and
  • the injured person suffered economic losses and other damages.

The landlord’s duty to provide safe premises extends to guests and other people who have a legitimate reason to be on the premises. That duty does not extend to trespassers. Further, that duty does not arise immediately from an unsafe condition. Landlords will have a reasonable amount of time to correct or remove hazards, and that time will depend on the nature of the hazard itself.

What Parties Other Than a Landlord Will Be Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries?

Landlords might delegate responsibility for maintenance and repairs of a rental building to a management company. Further, the landlord might sign contracts for specific activities such as snow or trash removal to separate contractors. The delegation of those responsibilities does not absolve the landlord from their obligations.

However, this may extend liability for slip and fall injuries to a property manager or contractor who failed to fulfill its responsibilities. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will know to examine all aspects of a slip and fall accident to uncover all of the parties who might have caused or contributed to it.

Call Douglas and London today for a free evaluation

Please see our website or call the Manhattan offices of Douglas and London to consult with our team of New York City slip and fall lawyers. We represent individuals who have been hurt in slip-and-fall accidents in Manhattan, the Bronx, Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and elsewhere in New York.

We have in-depth knowledge of the New York rental market and the skills and experience that will benefit an injured party who sues a landlord for slip-and-fall damages.

Resources:

  1. www.rentprep.com: Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Falling Down the Stairs? https://www.rentprep.com/property-maintenance/landlord-guide-slip-fall-accidents/
  2. www.sfgatae.com: Tenants’ Rights on a Slip and Fall Due to a Landlord’s Negligence. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tenants-rights-slip-fall-due-landlords-negligence-62509.html
  3. www.findlaw.com: Liability for Tenant Injuries and Insurance for Landlords. https://realestate.findlaw.com/landlord-tenant-law/liability-for-tenant-injuries-and-insurance-for-landlords.html