Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, landlords may be held liable when a tenant or guest of a tenant is injured from defective conditions 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 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, Jeffrey Laffey, Paul Bucci or Brian Kent, please contact us at (866) 641-0806.
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 of the owner/landlord to live up to their obligations under the law to keep their property safe.
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 of the owner/landlord to live up to their obligations under the law to keep their property safe
Trip and fall accidents almost always happen because the landlord failed to perform appropriate 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 also 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.
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. The landlord must have been on notice that criminal conduct was a reasonable possibility. Under circumstances such as the landlord knowing that previous similar acts have occurred on the property. 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.
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 fail to appropriately respond to pervious complaints involving similar conduct? Did the landlord issue warnings, increase lighting, hire security guards, etc.?
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. Visit the negligent security law library for more info.
Whenever a commercial or residential landlord in Pennsylvania or New Jersey can be sued for an accident or injury, it’s often the case that an additional party can be held liable as well. In landlord negligence injury cases, other parties who may be held liable include:
Oftentimes, the landlord of a larger residential complex or a commercial landlord (mall, shopping plaza, etc.) may hire a property management company to handle the day to day operations. This typically includes maintenance, security, etc. When an accident occurs in a rental property or rental premises, a property management company can be held liable for the resulting injuries. Likewise, security companies or maintenance companies can also be held liable. These types of companies or contractors may be hired by the landlord directly or by a property management company.
The key in any landlord liability case is to identify any and all relevant contracts between the landlord and other parties who may have had the legal duty to provide maintenance or security for the rental premises. Such contracts will help identify the legal rights and responsibilities of each of the parties. In addition, such contracts may identify who bears liability for specific events, like accidents.
An individual injured in an accident on the premises of a rented property in Pennsylvania or New Jersey may be able to receive financial compensation for their injuries and any resulting damages. Common claims for compensation include:
In some landlord liability cases, the resulting injuries may result in a temporary or permanent disability. This in turn can lead to a significant lost wages claim. For example, a young professional in Philadelphia is injured while visiting her friend at her apartment complex. She falls down a walkway due to an uneven step and breaks her leg. She is a professional dancer and is unable to return to work for 6 months. During this time, she loses approximately $35,000 of income. If the landlord (or other parties) can be held liable, her compensation claim would include the loss of $35,000, as well as pain and suffering and any other expenses she incurred, like medical bills.
What many people don’t know or understand is how insurance works in a personal injury case, like a lawsuit against a landlord for an accident on a rented premises. In most cases, the accident will be covered under the property owner’s property insurance or commercial insurance. The same goes if the party held liable is a property management company or a security company. The insurance company steps into the shoes of the landlord and pays on the legal claim, up to the amount purchased on the policy. In cases involving commercial landlords or large residential landlords, these policies can provide sizable payouts. Many such policies provide insurance of up to $1,000,000 or more.
When multiple parties are liable and are covered under their own insurance policy, the injured individual could recover under each policy, up to the coverage amount purchased. Here’s an example to explain how multiple insurance policies can come into play.
A Pennsylvania man is robbed and murdered in his apartment building. The crime happens in a laundry room located in the basement. The perpetrator is a homeless individual who had previously been seen entering the same building and being aggressive with other tenants. One tenant reported that the individual gained entry through a broken door in the basement. Prior to the murder, the landlord received multiple complaints about the homeless individual. The landlord’s own security company was supposed to be conducting security walks around the perimeter. Despite instructing the security company to step up security walks, the individual is not found. Nothing further is done. Lights aren’t installed around the premises, and tenants aren’t notified of the increased risk. The landlord’s employees and the security company don’t bother to check the broken lock in the basement. A few weeks later, the tenant is robbed and murdered. Police investigation shows that the perp gained entry through a broken door in the basement, the same one that another tenant had complained about.
Since liability of the landlord and security company is pretty clear, both could be held liable for the tenant’s murder, despite the fact that neither actually committed the murder.
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.
Injuries due to landlord negligence can result from various factors, including slip and fall accidents, inadequate security, unsafe stairways, lack of proper lighting, faulty electrical wiring, and failure to address hazardous conditions. The experienced attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent can help determine the cause of your injury and identify the responsible parties to hold them accountable for any damages.
In cases where landlord negligence is the cause of an injury, the landlord or property owner can typically be held responsible if they failed to maintain a safe environment or address known hazards. Our attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent can help you identify the liable parties and pursue compensation for your injuries.
Accidents due to landlord negligence can result in various injuries, ranging from minor to severe. Common injuries include fractures, sprains, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries. The attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent can help you seek compensation for your injuries and any associated medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured due to landlord negligence, it’s important to prioritize your health and safety. Seek immediate medical attention and report the accident to the landlord or appropriate authorities. Document any injuries, damages, and the accident scene, if possible. Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries with insurance companies or other parties without first consulting an experienced landlord injury accident attorney like those at Laffey, Bucci & Kent.
The statute of limitations for landlord injury accident claims varies by state and the type of claim you are filing. Generally, you have a limited time from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable landlord injury accident attorney like those at Laffey, Bucci & Kent to ensure that your claim is filed within the applicable time limits.
In a landlord injury accident claim, you may be able to recover compensation for various damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. The experienced attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent can help you assess the potential value of your claim and seek the maximum compensation available under the law.
The experienced attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent can guide you through the complex legal process, identify the liable parties, gather and preserve crucial evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your best interests in court if necessary. We are committed to helping you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your landlord injury accident and any associated damages.
“Outstanding” Paul’s experience shined through during negotiations.