Slip and fall injuries are very common, and they occur at a wide variety of locations. One of the most important questions that comes up after a slip and fall injury is: who is responsible? That question can be a little complicated for slip and fall injuries on rental property. The answer depends on many factors, including who was injured.
Property owner’s liability for negligence
Property owners are generally not expected to protect individuals from every conceivable danger. However, if there is evidence of negligence, there may be liability. The concept of negligence is centered around the standard of care the property owner was expected to meet, based on what a reasonable person in the same situation would have done. To prove negligence, you must first establish that a legal duty to exercise reasonable care existed. That duty is based who was injured and why that person was on the property at the time of the injury. Next, it must be shown that the property owner failed to exercise that duty, which resulted in the injuries being claimed.
What if the owner and occupier of the property are not the same?
In many cases, the owner of the property is not the same person or entity as the occupier of the property. For instance, the owner of a building may be different from the business renting the building to operate a store. Perhaps the most common example is rental property. The landlord owns the property, but the person renting the apartment or home is the actual occupier. How do you determine liability in that case? This can be a very tricky situation. The answer will depend on several factors, including the type of property in question, and the type of negligence involved.
Who is responsible for injuries on rental property?
The rules of legal responsibility for injuries sustained on private residences differ from those occurring on commercial property. With a residence, the rules are fairly simple. Whether you are a guest at a rented apartment, or the tenant, the party responsible for your injuries is the person responsible for maintaining the area or condition that caused your injuries. As such, the landlord is generally responsible for everything outside of the apartment and all immovable objects in the apartment. This would include hallways, stairways and entrances, as well as floors, walls, fixtures and appliances in the apartment, as long as those appliances originally came with the apartment. Therefore, the tenant would be responsible for anything movable inside the apartment.
Of course, there is an exception when the tenant is aware of a dangerous condition in the apartment, such as a broken floorboard, but does nothing about it and fails to warn the guest. In that situation, both the tenant and the landlord may be liable for any injury to a guest caused by that dangerous condition.
If you have questions regarding injuries on rental property, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office by calling us at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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