What is a Landlord’s Liability For Slip and Fall Injuries?

by Staff Blogger | October 4th, 2022

Slipping and falling at your apartment can be a challenging situation to handle because several factors go into determining who is at fault for your injury. Our slip and fall attorneys in Sacramento can simplify the process of seeking compensation if you believe that your landlord was responsible for your fall. 

When Is a Landlord Liable for an Injury to a Tenant? 

Landlords generally have somewhat different responsibilities as far as protecting current tenants and those that have not yet signed a lease. 

Before Giving Possession to a Tenant 

Landlords are responsible for inspecting apartments and making any necessary repairs prior to showing the apartment to a prospective tenant. Failing to do so will often make the landlord liable for any falls or other injuries a prospective tenant experiences while visiting an apartment. In addition, landlords will generally be liable for any injuries that prospective tenants or new tenants that do not yet have possession of an apartment experience elsewhere on the property if they knew about and failed to correct the issue.  

After Giving Possession to a Tenant 

Once a tenant has possession of a property, they become responsible for the majority of potential causes of falls and other injuries within their own apartments. Although landlords should generally make repairs within a tenant’s apartment once the tenant brings a problem to the landlord’s attention, landlords are typically not expected to be aware of issues in private areas that they are not told about. Known issues are expected to be found and fixed before the tenant moves in, and many new issues that arise after this time are the tenant’s fault and unknown to the landlord. This means that landlords are usually not liable for most injuries that occur within an apartment, although they may still be liable for negligence-related injuries that result from problems they knew existed in public areas. 

Is a Landlord Liable for an Injury to a Third Party?

Your landlord’s responsibility for maintaining a reasonably safe property extends to your friends, family members, and any third party guests that visit your building. Guests that are injured can sue your landlord for an injury that is the clear result of negligence, even if they do not live there. Like tenants, third party guests that are injured on your landlord’s property need to be able to provide sufficient evidence that the landlord knew about the unsafe conditions that caused the injury and neglected to correct the problem within a reasonable amount of time.

This means that most slip and fall injuries that occur within your actual apartment are more likely to be your fault or your guest’s fault than your landlord’s. However, certain falls in parking lots, stairwells, common areas, and other public areas of your building may qualify as negligence and give a third party a reasonable chance of proving that your landlord is liable for the injury. 

What Happens If a Landlord Gives Maintenance Responsibilities to an Independent Contractor? 

Many landlords hire an independent contractor to handle any maintenance needs associated with the property instead of doing all the work themselves, particularly if they own multiple properties. While this option can save a significant amount of time for landlords, they should still be diligent about visiting each property they own regularly to ensure that this individual or company is doing a thorough job because they can still be held liable for many types of injuries that may occur on their properties.

Responsibility for making sure that the property is safe enough to avoid injuries that are the result of negligence still falls on the owner of the property, regardless of who is actually supposed to be doing the work. This means that tenants can still sue a landlord for injuries to themselves or their guests that are the result of negligence, even if the independent contractor is the reason a known unsafe condition has not been repaired in a timely manner. 

Are Liability Waivers Binding? 

Under most circumstances, liability waivers are a more effective means of convincing an injured tenant not to sue a landlord in the first place than they are of actually protecting the landlord from a negligence lawsuit. Although your landlord may have included a liability waiver in your lease and may claim that this waiver means you will automatically be unsuccessful in suing them if you are injured, these waivers are generally much less binding than your landlord may want you to believe. Your landlord may genuinely, but mistakenly, believe that a waiver is all they need to ensure that they cannot be held responsible for any injuries that occur on their property, but they may also use the existence of this waiver to intentionally mislead tenants. 

Injuries that result from clear negligence on your landlord’s part are different from injuries that were your fault or an obvious accident that is clearly no one’s fault, and these waivers or clauses typically will not be enforced if you decide to take legal action against your landlord. This means that you should not allow any threats or coercion from your landlord to convince you not to attempt to obtain compensation as long as there is sufficient evidence available that you or your guest was injured as a result of the landlord’s negligence. Experienced Sacramento slip and fall attorneys can help you navigate the process of determining where the rights of your landlord may think they have ended if they interfere with yours. 

What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Slip and Fall Accident Case? 

Tenants that are injured as the result of a slip and fall accident that is connected to a landlord’s negligence can sue for compensatory damages. This means that you may be able to obtain financial compensation from your landlord for a variety of problems that result from your injury, such as medical or physical therapy bills, lost wages, and changes to your future work capabilities. Scarring, pain, and other types of non-financial results of your injury may also qualify for financial compensation if negligence is determined to be the primary cause. 

Do Not Hesitate to Contact a Sacramento Slip and Fall Attorney 

After a consultation with our slip and fall attorneys Sacramento residents can rest assured that Berg Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the complex process of determining fault for an injury and obtaining compensation. Although results can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your slip and fall injury, working with us may help you obtain a higher level of compensation than you would get without consulting an expert. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to learn more about how choosing our personal injury attorneys may be a good fit for your situation or to schedule a free consultation.