Can I Sue the Landlord if I Slip and Fall on Their Property?

The New York housing market is notoriously competitive, and an estimated two-thirds of the city’s 8.4 million residents live in rental units. New York landlords may have the upper hand when it comes to pricing their apartments, but they also have specific obligations to their tenants. By law, landlords must ensure their property is routinely maintained so that it is free of hazards that could cause injury or impair the health of their tenants.

When landlords are remiss in this responsibility, and a tenant suffers harm from a slip and fall, they may be held liable. Can you sue a landlord after an accident on their property? If the landlord was negligent and breached their duty to maintain reasonably safe premises, then yes.

At Douglas and London, we are dedicated to protecting tenants’ rights. When negligence is suspected, it’s in your best interest to speak with our New York City slip and fall lawyers about your options for legal recourse. We provide candid guidance about liability laws, and whether you have a valid claim for compensation.

Suing a landlord for a slip and fall injury

In New York, every landlord must comply with the implied warranty of habitability that states rental units and buildings must be kept safe and livable at all times. This includes public areas of your rental property like staircases, stoops, lobbies, shared fitness centers, elevators, laundry rooms, hallways, and rooftops. The landlord can be held liable for injuries if it can be proven that he or she breached their duty to provide tenants with reasonably safe conditions.

Tenants may have grounds to sue if basic property maintenance requirements are not met. Here are some examples:

  • Fire escapes and exits in good working order
  • Adequate indoor and outdoor lighting
  • Common areas are clean and free of hazardous conditions
  • No water leaks or flooding
  • Flooring is in good condition, free of broken tiles
  • Functional stairs and railings
  • Walkways and driveways are cleared of snow and ice

How to prove negligence

To pursue and win a slip and fall claim against a landlord, plaintiffs must establish the following elements:

  • The landlord had a legal obligation to maintain the premises where your slip and fall occurred. If you slipped on shower water in your own bathroom, this would not give rise to a viable lawsuit.
  • The landlord knew or should have reasonably known about the dangerous condition. For example, you provided constructive notice that the staircase in your building was broken, but the landlord did nothing about it. Once landlords are alerted about an unsafe condition, they must take measures to correct it.
  • The hazard should have been discovered with routine maintenance.
  • You suffered injuries and financial losses as a direct result of the landlord’s breach of the duty to maintain the rental property.

A personal injury action can seek compensation for immediate and long-term medical expenses, lost wages and future loss of earnings, pain, and suffering, and emotional anguish.

Common scenarios that give rise to litigation

Landlords can be sued for a variety of breaches that cause tenants serious injury—again, here a few examples:

  • Falls on defective staircases with missing handrails
  • Falls on sidewalks and stoops laden with ice or snow
  • Falls from windows that do not have proper safety guards
  • Falls on puddles of water caused by leaking pipes
  • Falls in common areas that are littered with debris

Contact Douglas and London today

If you have questions about a recent slip and fall injury, or whether you can sue your landlord for negligence, reach out to Douglas & London to request a free consultation. There are laws and strict time limits for bringing a claim for damages, which is why it’s essential to discuss your rights with our New York City personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.

At Douglas & London, we welcome the opportunity to take on challenging cases, and our talented legal team has a strong record of success: more than $4 billion in damages won for our clients.