Imagine how quickly the excitement of renting a new home or apartment could fade if you were unexpectedly injured due to some hazardous condition of the property. Worse yet, what if your landlord knew about the hazard that caused your fall, but didn’t say anything to you? If this situation sounds familiar, you may have a Kentucky premises liability lawsuit against your landlord.
Premises liability is the legal term referring to the body of law governing slip and fall claims and other cases involving situations where a person is injured while on another’s property. Generally, premises liability laws impose a duty on landowners to ensure that their property is reasonably safe for invited guests. The extent of the duty owed to a visitor or guest depends on the relationship between the parties and the guest’s reason for being on the property.
Of course, the landlord-tenant relationship is unique from other classifications of visitors, such as customers or social guests. In a landlord-tenant relationship, the landlord gives up possession of the home or apartment in exchange for rental income. Thus, when a tenant slips and falls on a landlord’s property, the situation involves elements of property law, contract law, and personal injury law.
What Is Landlord Liability for Slip and Fall Injuries?
It depends. Landlords may be liable for a tenant’s injuries in a rented home or apartment; however, many factors go into the analysis. In general, the law takes two different approaches when it comes to landlord liability, depending on where a tenant’s injuries occur.
Landlords have a duty to cure known defects found in areas that are not exclusively in the tenant’s possession and over which the landlord maintains control. Most notably, these include common areas in an apartment building, such as gardens, hallways, parking lots, foyers, stairs, roof-tops, and playgrounds.
If a tenant is injured in a common area, they may pursue a Kentucky slip and fall claim against the landlord. However, a tenant cannot hold a landlord liable for every type of injury they suffer on the property. To succeed in this claim, a tenant must prove that the landlord was negligent. Most often, this involves showing that the landlord knew (or should have known) about the hazardous condition; however, the landlord may also be liable if they were responsible for causing the danger. A few examples of defects for which a tenant may be able to successfully hold a landlord liable for damages include:
- Broken stairs,
- Missing handrails,
- Cracked or uneven pavement,
- Damaged flooring, and
- Unlit areas.
An experienced premises liability legal practitioner can assess your circumstances and determine whether your landlord can be held liable.
Generally, if a tenant’s injuries occur in an area over which they have exclusive control, the landlord will not be liable to the tenant for damages. However, this is not always the case. For example, landlords can also be held responsible in certain situations where they knew of a hazard when they handed over possession to the tenant but failed to warn the tenant about the hazard. For example, a landlord may be liable if they know that an apartment unit has lead paint but fails to undertake lead remediation efforts and does not inform the tenant of the risks of lead paint.
Another situation in which a landlord is responsible for a tenant’s injuries is when they fail to repair hazardous conditions brought to their attention. For example, if a tenant tells a landlord that the steps in the home are broken and need repair and the landlord takes no action, they may be responsible for any resulting injuries. To establish landlord liability in this situation, a tenant must prove:
- The landlord had a duty to fix the hazard;
- The landlord failed to do so in a reasonable amount of time;
- Fixing the hazard would not have been unreasonably difficult or expensive;
- The hazard was the cause of the tenant’s injuries; and
- The resulting injury was both serious and probable.
Whether your landlord was responsible for repairing a hazardous condition may depend on the terms of your lease agreement. We can help you review your lease and advise you of the landlord’s potential liability.
Establishing Landlord Liability in a Kentucky Slip and Fall Case
Given that landlords are typically responsible for fixing only hazards they know about, it is important that tenants inform landlords about any hazards they notice in or around their property. If you’ve slipped and fallen on a rented property, be sure to keep any communication you’ve had with your landlord about the hazard. For example, save the text message or email in which you first notified your landlord about the dangerous condition. You should also retain any subsequent communication about your injuries or the hazard itself. This can help prove your claim and prevent the landlord from claiming they were unaware of the hazard.
One final thing to keep in mind about Kentucky landlord liability is that, generally, only tenants can hold a landlord responsible for injuries occurring inside the rented home or apartment. If a tenant’s guest is injured, the guest may pursue a claim against the tenant instead of the landlord. It would then be up to the tenant to join the landlord in the case if they believed their guest’s injury was due to their landlord’s negligence.
Proving landlord liability in a Kentucky premises liability case can be complex. Those hoping to recover damages for injuries occurring in or around a rented property should consult with a dedicated personal injury legal practitioner to better understand their options.
Reach Out to the Experienced Kentucky Slip and Fall Legal Practitioner at the Gladstein Law Firm
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a rented home or apartment, you may have a legal claim against your landlord. At the Gladstein Law Firm, LLC, we proudly represent injury victims, helping them obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. We’ve handled Kentucky slip and fall claims for more than 20 years and know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our dedicated injury legal practitioners, call today or contact us through our online form. And because we handle all cases on a contingency basis, there is no risk in calling, because we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.