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Is my landlord responsible for my injuries from safety hazards?

If you are a Louisville resident who rents your home or apartment from a landlord, you may have your share of horror stories about neglected premises that pose real safety hazards and potential financial liabilities. Building management companies, property owners and landlords have a duty to keep the property free of safety hazards that can harm residents or their visitors.

What kind of lapses can generate premises liability litigation?

That depends, based on the location and type of property in question. Obviously, a building super in a New York City high-rise condo or apartment building faces different safety challenges than a landlord who rents a few single-family houses to families in rural Kentucky.

However, there are safety guidelines that apply almost everywhere, like the following:

  • Keep floors clean and free of clutter, leaks and other hazards
  • Fill in holes outside that can twist a tenant's ankle or wrench a knee
  • Clearly mark uneven surfaces or transitions from one surface elevation to another. i.e., outline edges of ramps or steps with bright yellow paint
  • Trim bushes around doors and windows to prevent assailants from lurking in the foliage
  • Make sure stairways and entrances remain well-lit at all times
  • Install monitored security cameras in out-of-the-way areas like storage units and laundry facilities
  • Hire security guards to patrol the property
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms and make sure that sprinkler systems and fire detectors are working and up to code

What should tenants do after an injury occurs on rental property?

Documenting injuries and the landlord's culpability for the tenant's accident is vital. Take pictures of the accident scene and obtain statements from any witnesses. Seek treatment from a medical professional and notify the landlord or property manager as soon as is possible after the incident.

If your damage claim is denied by the property owner or his or her insurance company, you may need to retain a personal injury attorney to file suit to preserve your right to seek financial remuneration for your injuries and other losses.

Source: Travelers, "Premises Security and Liability," accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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