Like most big cities, Philadelphia is full of rental properties, with an owner-occupied housing rate of only 52.2% according to Census data. If you’re among the thousands of people who rent an apartment in Philadelphia, you should know about your tenant rights in the event of an accident or injury. In Pennsylvania, landlords and property owners may be liable for tenant injuries, depending on how, why, and when the injuries occurred. If you were injured because of unsafe conditions or property defects in an apartment building, housing complex, or other type of rental property, the Philadelphia premises liability attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm can help you fight for compensation.
Can I Sue My Landlord for a Slip and Fall Injury?
The short answer to this question is: possibly. It depends on factors like how long ago the injury occurred, where in the building the injury occurred, and why the accident occurred. Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers explain how each of these details impacts liability for injuries on rental property.
When Are Landlords Liable for Tenant Injuries?
As our slip and fall accident lawyers just mentioned, there are several factors that determine whether a landlord or property owner can be held liable for a renter’s injuries, including:
- How long ago the injury occurred. If your injury occurred more than two years ago, your claim may be barred. This is due to the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations, which generally permits only two years in which to file a claim following the date of injury. While there are some exceptions to this rule, issues like the loss or deterioration of evidence can also compromise a claim if too much time passes. If you were hurt in an accident on a rental property, it is in your best interests to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible regarding your legal options.
- Where in the building the injury occurred. As a general rule, landlords are only responsible for maintaining reasonably safe conditions in shared spaces or immovable parts of the building, such as lobbies, stairwells, elevators, recreational rooms, laundry areas, gym areas, and shared hallways. They are also responsible for electrical and fire safety, sanitation, and compliance with other building codes. If, for instance, a tenant gets injured because they leave a shirt on their bedroom floor and trip over it later, the landlord is not liable, because the landlord’s actions did not cause or contribute to the tenant’s accident. On the other hand, if a tenant gets injured because a property defect causes a slip and fall accident, the landlord could be at fault. Structural defects, faulty wiring, balcony collapses, and related issues could result in landlord liability. Depending on what caused the tenant’s injuries, multiple parties may be liable in addition to the landlord.
- Why the accident occurred. Landlords and property owners are expected to maintain reasonably safe conditions for tenants, visitors, and guests on the premises. That entails taking adequate measures to repair (or safely isolate) hazards and defects within a reasonable period of time. If a landlord negligently fails to repair or correct a hazard, which eventually injures a tenant, the landlord may be liable. Most personal injury claims hinge on proving that the negligence of one or more parties caused preventable injuries.
Compensation for Injury on a Rental Property in Philadelphia
Different types of compensation, known as “damages,” may be available to a tenant who is seriously injured due to the negligence of a landlord or property owner. For example, compensatory damages attempt to restore, to the greatest possible extent, the victim to his or her state before the accident. Compensatory damages can be further divided into “economic” (“special”) damages, or compensation for out-of-pocket financial losses, and “non-economic” (“general”) damages, or compensation for pain and suffering and other non-financial or intangible losses.
Punitive damages, which are less common, are sometimes awarded specifically in cases where the defendant is found to have acted in an extreme or egregious manner. The purpose of punitive damages is both to punish the defendant, and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Damages that may be available in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Diminished earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of income, including anticipated losses
- Medical bills, including anticipated treatment
- Pain and suffering
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Handling Slip and Fall Accident Claims
At the law offices of The Reiff Law Firm, we are award-winning personal injury lawyers with more than 40 years of combined experience representing tenants against negligent landlords and property owners in complex premises liability claims. If you or one of your family members was injured in a trip and fall accident on a rental property, or was injured in a different type of rental property accident, The Reiff Law Firm can help you aggressively pursue compensation for your medical bills and other damages. To discuss whether you could have an injury claim against your landlord, contact The Reiff Law Firm online, or call (215) 246-9000 for a free legal consultation.