Suing Your Landlord: Were They Liable For Your Injury?

One question that arises often in a rental property when a tenant is injured is whether or not the landlord is responsible for the injuries.

Not all injuries that occur in your home are the fault of your landlord, but California does allow tenants to sue the landlord or property manager if your injuries were a result of their negligent failure to maintain the property.

When is it Your Landlord’s Fault?

For your landlord to be held responsible for your injuries, you must be able to prove that :

  1. it was the landlord’s responsibility to maintain that part of the property that caused the accident
  2. the landlord did not take reasonable measures to avoid the accident
  3. it was foreseeable that a serious injury could result from not fixing the issue
  4. failure to fix the issue was the cause of your injuries
  5. you suffered an actual injury

If, for example, somebody falls walking up the steps to the front door because the handrail is loose, and breaks his or her arm, the landlord will be liable.

The steps are part of the common area, which is the responsibility of the landlord to maintain.

If the handrail had been loose for an extended period of time, then it would be a foreseeable accident.

If the fall, however, is due to the high heels the victim was wearing, or because somebody pushed her, then there is no liability case against the landlord. All five elements above must be satisfied for a cause of action to result.

Other Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords have some requirements imposed upon them by California law, and violations of these requirements can open them to both criminal liability and civil liability.

Under the California landlord-tenant laws, landlords have an obligation to:

  1. disclose the presence of lead paint and asbestos
  2. provide periodic pest control services
  3. remediate and disclose to the tenant if there is contamination from a former methamphetamine lab.

These are just a few of the obligations imposed on landlords under California law that, if violated and lead to tenant injury, can also be actionable.

For example, your child is having trouble in school and the doctor determines that it is due to elevated lead in her system. You then learn it’s because she’s been exposed to lead paint in your home – unbeknownst to you. At this point, you likely have a cause of action against your landlord.

What Damages are Recoverable?

If your personal injury is your landlord’s fault, you have the right to file a claim against the landlord’s insurance company or file a lawsuit against the landlord.

You can recover damages for your medical bills, lost earnings for any work you missed, for pain and suffering and emotional distress, and for any physical disability or permanent disfigurement.

If your personal property is also damaged as a result of faulty maintenance or unsafe conditions, you can sue for damages for the value of those losses as well.

Call A San Diego Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured and think it is because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of your landlord, you should consult an experienced San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your options. Call Steven Green today for a complimentary consultation.