Who Is Liable in Apartment Building Accidents?
The legal concept of "premises liability" is concerned with injuries that occur on someone's property. Property owners, including apartment building owners, have a legal responsibility to keep their properties free from reasonably discoverable dangers. This includes parking lots, stairwells, playgrounds, and any other common area where either renters or visitors may be allowed to occupy. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a property owner, you may be entitled to compensation. In most cases where serious injuries occur, it is advisable to consult with a premises liability attorney to understand your legal rights.
What Duty Does The Property Owner Have?
Property owners and landlords have a duty to keep their properties safe from hazards, such as poorly maintained staircases, electrical hazards, and others. To bring a case against a landlord or property owner you must prove that they failed to meet this responsibility. Additionally, it must be established that the hazard was discoverable upon reasonable inspection, and they failed to take appropriate action to address it.
Tenants must use the property in a responsible matter. If a tenant or visitor engages in dangerous behavior, their injuries may not be compensable.
Who Is Responsible In The Event of an Injury?
In the case of a rental, the property owner and person responsible for maintaining the property would typically be under scrutiny. Their duties would normally include keeping the property free from known hazards and hazards that are discoverable upon reasonable inspection. If they fail to meet this duty of care, and an injury occurs, they may be liable.
Renters are responsible for their own property such as furniture, appliances they own, and typically anything else that wasn't included in the rental agreement. These items, and any injuries resulting from their use, would typically not be covered under premises liability.
Common areas are typically the responsibility of the property owner or landlord. This includes areas such as stairs, railings, elevators, parking lots, and fixtures. If the failure to maintain one of these areas causes injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Proving Negligence in Apartment Building Injuries
The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff in these cases, and it is a significant hurdle requiring extensive written discovery, depositions, and expert witnesses. In most cases, a personal injury lawyer can be valuable. A lawyer can help gather evidence, determine insurance benefits, negotiate with defense counsel and insurance companies, retain all appropriate experts, and try your case before a jury if necessary.
What Damages are Compensable?
If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for damages caused by the defendants. They may include:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Cost of Therapies
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
When You Should Work With a Lawyer
Contacting a lawyer can have an extremely positive impact on a successful personal injury case. Not only is there a statute of limitations on personal injury cases, but gathering evidence immediately following an injury is extremely important.
A personal injury lawyer can:
- Help you fully understand the laws and your rights.
- Negotiate with all third parties, including opposing counsel and insurance companies.
- Make sure the appropriate paperwork in filed properly and on time.
- Hire investigators and experts to ensure all relevant evidence is collected.
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
At The Reinartz Law Firm, we have extensive experience with premises liability cases. We will work with you every step of the way to help you, and aggressively seek the maximum compensation possible.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis which means you never pay for legal services unless we win your case. We offer a free consultation and are available at several locations in New Jersey. Contact us today to get started.