Pennsylvania & New Jersey Injury Lawyers: Landlord Liability for Injuries to Tenants & Guests
Types of Injury Lawsuits Against Landlords
Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, landlords may be held liable when a tenant or guest of a tenant is injured on the property, in various types of accidents or even due to foreseeable criminal conduct. Landlords and other parties can be held liable and ordered to pay financial compensation for physical injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, lost wages and more.
Our injury lawyers have represented tenants and guests of tenants in personal injury lawsuits against landlords in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For a FREE consultation with firm partners, Jeff Laffey, Paul Bucci or Brian Kent, please contact us at 215.399.9255.
Negligence – Liability & Fault
The key in these types of personal injury lawsuits is proving that the landlord was negligent or otherwise engaged in wrongful conduct. Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, negligence is defined as doing something an ordinary, reasonable person would not do or failing to do something that an ordinary, reasonable person would do. Oftentimes, in landlord liability cases, the wrongful conduct usually involves the failure to do something.
Fall Accident Due to Negligent Maintenance
One of the most common landlord liability lawsuits is a case involving a fall accident or similar mishap, like stairs collapsing or buckling. Fall accidents often happen on sidewalks, entryways and parking lots. Whether it’s a trip and fall or a slip and fall, these types of accidents often happen due to the failure to perform sufficient maintenance.
Trip and fall accidents almost always happen because the landlord failed to perform maintenance, or failed to correct a problem that had previously been complained of. Problems in a sidewalk like tree roots, broken concrete, etc., can lead to a trip and fall accident. Uneven walkways that aren’t properly designated can also lead to a trip and fall. A stairway that has old, worn carpeting in need of replacement can lead to a fall accident.
Slip and fall accidents usually occur due to weather related conditions like snow, ice or rain. Failure to perform reasonable adequate snow/ice removal on a sidewalk or parking lot can lead to a slip and fall accident.
Generally, landlords won’t be held liable for accidents that happen inside of a tenant’s home or apartment. For instance, a tenant trips on carpeting in his apartment’s bedroom and suffers injury. In most cases, a landlord wouldn’t be held liable for this type of accident. Rather, landlords may be liable for accidents that happen in common areas, like lobbies, entryways, sidewalks on the grounds, the parking lot, etc. These are places accessed by everyone.
Criminal Conduct Due to Negligent Security
When a crime like a violent robbery or sexual assault happens on the premises of an apartment building or similar housing, a landlord may be held liable if the crime was foreseeable. This means that there must have been similar conduct in the days, weeks or months prior to the criminal incident at issue. The landlord must have been on notice that criminal conduct was a reasonable possibility. Like claims of negligence, lawsuits against landlords for criminal conduct of a third party usually involve claims that the landlord failed to do something it should have done.
Assault in a Parking Lot of Apartment Building – Landlord Failed to Provide Security
When a violent crime happens in a public area of an apartment building, the landlord can be held liable if there’s sufficient evidence that the landlord had prior knowledge of the risk of crime. Was there a recent spike in reported assaults of a similar nature? Did the landlord receive police reports or reports from tenants of criminal conduct on the premises, in the same or similar location? If so, what did the landlord do in response? Did the landlord issue warnings, increase lighting, hire security guards, etc.?
Assault Inside an Apartment Building – Landlord Failed to Correct a Dangerous Condition
What about violent crimes that happen inside of an apartment building? For example, a tenant or guest of a tenant is sexually assaulted by a criminal who gained entry to an apartment building through a basement door which had a broken door lock. Tenants had previously complained to the landlord that the door lock was broken, but the landlord failed to fix the lock. Under these circumstances, the landlord has failed to correct a known, dangerous condition and could have reasonably foreseen access by criminals.
It’s important to note that these principles don’t just apply to residential landlords. They also apply to commercial landlords, like a shopping mall. For instance, a shopper or even a mall employee who is assaulted and mugged in the parking lot of a shopping mall may be able to succeed in a lawsuit against the commercial landlord if there is sufficient evidence that the crime was foreseeable.
Injury Lawyers – We Handle Accident & Injury Lawsuits Against Landlords
Our lawyers are recognized as some of the most highly rated personal injury attorneys in the area. Over the last decade, our lawyers have been recognized as “Top Personal Injury Lawyers” by Super Lawyers magazine.
For more information about injury lawsuits against landlords, visit our business liability law library. Contact our Pennsylvania and New Jersey injury lawyers to discuss a potential case. FREE CONSULTATIONS
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