Posted on: 19 October 2016
If you fell and were injured on property that you rent, you might be able to hold your landlord at fault if he or she failed to repair a dangerous condition. If so, you may be wondering how to go about getting compensated for your injuries without creating a rift in your relationship with your landlord. After all, you'll need to deal with your landlord on a continuing basis until your lease is up, especially if your landlord has yet to repair the defect that caused your injury.
An insurance claim could end up changing the dynamics of the relationship, especially if it results in a lawsuit. Here's what you need to know.
Proving your landlord failed to repair
In order to have a legal case, you'll need to prove that your landlord did not repair—within a reasonable amount of time—a dangerous condition that he or she knew about or should have known about. For example, if you alerted your landlord that a step was broken and you tripped over the step later that same day, the landlord would not have had enough reasonable time to make the repairs. However, if the landlord knew of the broken step beforehand yet ignored it, then he or she could be held liable for not providing safe living conditions.
You'll need to provide proof that your landlord knew of the damaged conditions within a reasonable amount of time, which can be difficult if your only communication with your landlord is verbally. This is why it is important to communicate with your landlord in writing about everything so you'll have tangible proof. If everything you've discussed with your landlord has been verbally, take time to sit down and recollect various dates, times, and details of conversations you've had.
It cannot be stressed enough how photographs can speak a thousand words. Take pictures in various angles and heights to show the severity of the damaged conditions that caused you to trip and fall. If necessary, place something in the photographs to show measurements, preferably a ruler. The reason why gathering enough evidence is so important is that you want to be sure to have a solid, strong case against your landlord before moving forward with an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Obviously, you don't want to rock the boat, so to speak, unless you do have a strong case.
Filing an insurance claim or an injury lawsuit
Filing an insurance claim can be challenging if you don't know which insurance company your landlord uses. Hopefully, he or she included this information in the landlord-tenant lease agreement, so be sure to look there first. If not, you can try asking your landlord for the information. Another alternative is to get a report from the comprehensive loss underwriting exchange (CLUE).
This report shows the insurance claims history for the property you are renting. If you are unable to find any insurance information, a lawyer can subpoena your landlord for the information. If there is no insurance company to file a claim against, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against your landlord to get compensated for your injuries.
Preventing retaliation from your landlord
One of your primary concerns likely is the landlord-tenant relationship moving forward during and after an insurance claim or an injury lawsuit. Fortunately, most states have laws that prevent landlord retaliation for these types of situations. In addition to having documentation of an insurance claim or injury lawsuit, it's a good idea to have your local building code authority inspect the damaged conditions that caused you to trip and fall, especially if your landlord still has yet to make the repairs.
For more information, contact a law firm like J D'Agostino & Associates, P.C.Share