If you slip and fall in an apartment building, you may be able to sue the landlord. Personal injury lawsuits based on what is known as premises liability require proof of negligence. Whether you can sue the landlord comes down to whether they failed to keep the property safe.
Determining whether you have the right to sue requires an experience-based analysis of the facts. Here are some of the factors that a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at our firm considers when evaluating a potential claim.
Basis of a slip and fall lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits, based on a slip and fall in a common area or other public space, require evidence of negligence. The plaintiff can allege that the landlord or manager, who is responsible for the condition of the property, failed to meet a duty, which caused the injury.
Apartment building falls may be caused by water left behind from cleaning, a spill left behind for too long, ice and snow not cleared away, and other reasons. Landlords or other potentially at-fault parties might be responsible for the injury if they breached a duty to invitees (those permitted to be on the property) by:
- Creating an unsafe condition.
- Failing to fix the unsafe condition when they knew, or reasonably should have known, about it; or
- Failing to warn invitees of the danger.
If this breach is a direct and foreseeable cause of the fall, the defendant may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. A skilled slip and fall lawyer can help with this analysis.
Defenses to a slip and fall
Commonly, a defendant in a slip and fall lawsuit will raise defenses in an attempt to avoid liability. If you are involved in a lawsuit or insurance negotiation, you may expect to hear some of these arguments:
- Incomplete proof – If the plaintiff did not prove all of the required elements – that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the breach caused the injury– the plaintiff will not be permitted to recover compensation. For example, if there is no evidence that the hazard was the cause of the fall, the defendant may not be liable.
- Open and obvious – When a dangerous condition was obvious, such as a bright red drink dropped on a white floor, the defendant may argue that no warning was necessary because the plaintiff should have seen it.
- Comparative fault – The plaintiff had a duty to watch where they were going. If they failed to exercise caution like by looking at their phone instead of where they were walking, it may absolve the defendant of liability or reduce the amount they need to pay.
Your personal injury lawyer will address these and any other issues that may threaten your case.
Parties to an apartment slip and fall lawsuit
In California, the law tasks certain parties with maintaining rental properties so that tenants and others who enter the property will be safe. Depending on the situation, this can include:
- Building owners
- Property managers
- Maintenance companies
When one or more of these parties fails to do this, the victims who may be entitled to sue can include:
- Delivery people or vendors
What to do after a slip and fall in an apartment
Time is of the essence when it comes to protecting your rights. Even though you may have a lot to deal with, as soon as you can:
- Take photos – Photograph the hazard and the surrounding area, as well as your injuries and even torn clothing.
- Talk to witnesses – If anyone saw the fall or the hazard that caused it, ask for their contact information.
- Seek medical attention – If there is a chance you may be injured, seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
Once you take care of immediate injuries, there are some other things to keep in mind
- Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer
- The landlord may have kept records of complaints about property defects and may have an incident report of your fall; you or your lawyer should obtain copies of these
- Do not sign anything without asking your lawyer to review it
If you have been injured, be proactive and speak with a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer from our firm as soon as possible. Statutes of limitations limit how long you have to file a lawsuit, and evidence can disappear quickly.
Contact us today
Contact the Salamati Law Firm to discuss your case for free. We are committed to helping personal injury victims understand their rights and pursue full compensation. Call us today – the consultation is free!