At the Law Offices of Laskin Balma we take all kinds of premises cases. There are slip and falls in grocery stores, trip and falls on city sidewalks, and even a case against a school with a dangerous field. But there is another type of case that we are focusing on today.
It is not common, but we have come across a few cases where a client was injured in the home or apartment that they rent. We are finding that defense attorneys will argue that there is no liability because the dangerous condition was known to the tenant and they chose to continue to live there. This is a faulty argument and we will explain why.
The owner of a premises has a duty to keep the premises in a safe and non-dangerous condition. The property must be safe for residents and safe for visitors. The owner has a duty to inspect the premises and, if necessary, repair the premises. In all the cases in this office, our client notified the owner of a problem with the residence and the owner failed to correct the problem. The problem led to a dangerous condition and our client was injured by the dangerous condition.
When notifying your landlord of a dangerous condition, you should always put the notice in writing. Even though verbal communication of the issue is valid notice, it is easier to prove notice if you have documentation. All requests for repairs should be documented anyway for maintenance purposes.
When defense attorneys ask why our clients did not move out of the home if the condition was dangerous, it is easy to see that they operate on a different wavelength than the real world. They do not understand that most people cannot move at the drop of a hat. There are issues to consider like the price of housing, school districts, and health factors. This argument just confuses the real issue. It is not the duty of the tenant to leave a residence if the premises is unsuitable – it is the duty of the landlord to make sure the residence is habitable.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys will try to put the blame on you, the tenant, but they know that the liability lies with the landlord. The landlord is always responsible for the condition of their premises, even if the tenant has lived there for years without injury before. The Law Offices of Laskin Balma understand the nuances of the defenses in this type of case and know how to navigate the roadblocks the defense tries to put up.