Who's Responsible For Damages If You Fall On A Neighbor's Rental Property?

Posted on: 20 November 2017


When one person slips and falls on his or her neighbor's property, the neighbor is generally the one liable for paying the expenses related to the victim's injuries because that neighbor is typically the owner of the property. However, it's not always clear who is liable for accidents when the neighbor is renting his or her home from someone else. Here's what you need to know to ensure you're pursuing the right person for compensation for your injuries.

What Does the Lease Agreement Say?

The challenge in a slip and fall accident on a rental property is determining who is responsible for maintaining the area where the incident occurred. For instance, if the victim tripped over a loose stone on the walkway leading to the home's entrance and the landlord is responsible for keeping that area in good repair, the landlord would be liable for the incident. On the other hand, if the victim fell inside the home because the floor was slippery after the resident mopped it, the tenant would be responsible for paying the victim's bills.

You'll need to talk to the tenant about who is responsible for maintaining the different areas on the property or obtain a copy of the person's lease. This can help you narrow down who you should sue so you can avoid wasting time and money chasing after someone who has nothing to do with the situation.

Are There Third Parties Involved?

Another thing you'll need to look into is whether there may be third parties involved in the accident. If the landlord is responsible for making sure snow is removed in a timely manner but the removal company he or she hired didn't perform its duties, then the snow removal company may be responsible for paying your damages along with (or instead of) the landlord, for example.

This issue commonly arises in accidents that occur because of poor workmanship. Going back to a previous example, if the landlord had someone fix the walkway but the person did a bad job and that caused the accident, the contractor who did the work could also be held liable for the incident.

It's important to ask the right questions to uncover all the parties who may be involved, so you can add them to the lawsuit. You can amend your suit to add others later, but this can cause delays in your case. Therefore, it's best to add everyone involved at the beginning.

For assistance with determining liability in your slip and fall case or help litigating it in court, contact a personal injury attorney like those at Putnam Lieb Potvin.