Posted on: 11 May 2016
Landlords are responsible for keeping their properties safe and free of hazards, such as walkways and/or steps that are covered with algae. Algae can easily grow on surfaces that are always shaded, which can be particularly dangerous because algae becomes extremely slippery when wet and can cause someone to fall. If you've suffered an injury from slipping and falling on a wet, algae-covered surface in front of your rental unit, here's what you need to know.
How to Prove Negligence
You'll need to determine whether or not the landlord was negligent. Did he or she know that the surface was covered with algae? If they didn't know, was it because they were not inspecting the property regularly? In many cases like this in which nature plays a role, such as with surfaces not getting enough sunlight to keep algae at bay, it would be highly unusual that when you slipped and fell it was the first time there was ever algae on the walkway or steps.
However, negligence can be difficult to prove, unless you are lucky enough to have a landlord admit that he or she knew of the algae problem and admit that they did nothing to correct the problem or, better yet, admit to knowing that they should have done something about it before someone slipped and fell. But if luck isn't on your side, speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case to see if he or she can help you determine whether or not the landlord was negligent.
Your Rights for Compensation
As with any personal injury case in which negligence can be proven, you do have a right to sue for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and any loss of income. Your landlord should have insurance for these types of situations. Therefore, you can expect that your landlord will hand things over to the insurance company to deal with. If the insurance company feels that you have a clear-cut case and can prove the landlord's negligence, they will probably ask you to settle out of court.
Since insurance companies often have lawyers, it's important that you also have a lawyer on your side, whether you choose to settle out of court or take the matter to court with a lawsuit. Do not sign any agreements with the insurance company without involving your lawyer and getting his or her approval. He or she may find something in the settlement agreement that may impact you negatively, such as a cap of payment of medical bills if your injuries will require ongoing treatment for an unknown amount of time.
Your Rights to Remain in the Rental Unit
Of course, one major concern for tenants like yourself, and one that you are probably concerned about, is how a personal injury case against your landlord will affect your status as a tenant of his or her rental property. Fortunately, there are laws which make it illegal for a landlord to retaliate against their tenants due to these types of situations. This also means that the landlord cannot refuse to renew a lease as a retaliation to a personal injury case.
If there are other reasons the landlord can give for refusing to renew your lease, such as failure to pay rent on time or breaking a stipulation in your lease, he or she can use those as reasons for refusing to renew. However, if the reason you were unable to pay rent was because you were unable to work due to the injuries you suffered from the slip and fall, ask your lawyer to note that in the settlement agreement or present it to the court as a way to cover your bases in case your landlord wants to use that as a reason to not renew your lease. Visit a website like http://www.danielgoodmanlaw.com to find a personal injury attorney.Share