If you hurt yourself in a slip and fall accident at your apartment complex or a home you are renting, you must prove your landlord’s negligence in causing your fall. Basically, you must show that your landlord knew or should have known of an unsafe condition. This can be more challenging because landlords typically do not live at homes they rent or at apartment complexes they may own. At least at a larger apartment complex, your landlord could have an onsite manager who is responsible for maintaining the property and is onsite regularly. However, even in a rental home or small complex, there could be evidence you can use to hold your landlord responsible for compensating you.
Ways You Can Document Your Landlord’s Liability for Your Injuries
All landlords have a duty to keep their rental properties in reasonable repair and free of any dangerous conditions and to repair problems promptly. In addition, landlords are required to make inspections of their properties, although how often this must be done will depend on the facts of your case. Ways you can show your landlord knew or should have known of the condition that caused your fall include:
- Notices to your landlord. Save copies of any letters, emails, and texts you sent to your landlord about the problem that caused your fall. Keep a written diary of all your communications with your landlord and include the date, time, person you spoke to, and response for each time you discussed the condition with your landlord or his employees. Saving phone records can help prove your phone conversations with him.
- Photographs and videos. Be sure to take photographs—and a video if possible—of the dangerous condition at the time of or right after your accident. You want to be certain to do this quickly before your landlord repairs the problem.
- Witness statements. Obtain contact information for any other witnesses to your accident and obtain a written statement. Besides documenting your fall, they may help you prove that the condition existed before your fall if they live at the property or visited it.
- Tenant statements. Especially if your problem is in a common area—such as a broken handrail in the entrance to the building—other tenants may have complained about the problem even if you had not. In addition, other problems like roof leaks or plumbing problems can affect more than one apartment, making it more likely someone else informed the landlord of the need for repairs.
- Building inspection reports. Many local building departments inspect rental units periodically or when a tenant makes a complaint. Checking your property’s file with the building department could reveal that your problem is a building code violation and that the inspector sent your landlord a written demand to fix it.
- Prior tenant statements. You may need your attorney to obtain the new contact information for prior tenants who lived at your rental property. If your problem was unrepaired when you moved into your home or had been a reoccurring problem for the previous tenant, the prior tenant may have known about it and complained to your landlord.
- Inventory checklist. Some landlords use an inventory checklist at move-in and move-out of rental units. These documents may note the very problem that caused your fall.
- Landlord inspection records. Your landlord may keep written records of inspections of your rental property. These records—or the lack of them—may help you establish your landlord’s fault. Again, you may need an attorney to obtain these records as your landlord will not provide them voluntarily.
These are just some of the ways you may be able to prove your landlord’s negligence in causing your fall. Our experienced legal team is committed to obtaining all the evidence necessary to get you the compensation you deserve—no matter how minor or serious your injuries are. Call us today at 866-299-0558 to schedule a free, no-obligation, consultation.