INJURY AT APARTMENT IS LANDLORD RESPONSIBLE? – MINNESOTA LAWYERS
Our MN personal injury attorneys frequently get calls from a renter who has been injured at their apartment building, or even in their apartment, and want to know if the landlord is responsible or if they can sue the landlord. The most common injuries our accident lawyers handle against landlords of apartment buildings are where someone slips and falls in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, or other common area property. However, our attorneys have also handled a surprising variety of other types of accident cases that happen at apartment buildings. One particularly unfortunate type of incident that can occur at an apartment building is where the tenant is injured because he or she was attacked by another tenant or someone who broke into the building. Our accident injury lawyers in MN have also been called on cases where there was an electrical problem that caused a renter to be electrocuted, water that has gotten into an apartment and caused someone to slip in the entryway coming into the apartment, a balcony collapsed while someone was on it, a railing broke while a little girl was leaning against it. The list goes on.
The first thing to keep in mind is that in Minnesota the apartment landlord has more responsibility and liability for accident injuries that occur in common areas than inside the apartment itself. Many of our cases involve an injury the apartment parking lot or sidewalk or someone injured by falling in an apartment stairwell or other common area.
If you are injured inside your apartment in MN, the landlord is generally only responsible if there was a hidden dangerous condition in your apartment that the landlord was aware (or should have been aware) but the tenant was not, or the landlord negligently repaired or maintained the apartment, or something from outside the apartment that the landlord had control over caused the accident. Cases where someone is injured in their apartment in MN require our accident injury lawyer to conduct a careful evaluation of the facts, and often require investigation by an outside agency, building contractor, or investigator. For example, when our injury attorney worked on the case of the deck collapse at the apartment building, we had to get a contractor to evaluate the deck to determine that the wood had been rotting for a long time and the landlord should have discovered it long ago. Similarly in an electrical case, our injury attorney would need a city inspector and an electrical contractor to evaluate the cause of the electrical failure to find out if there was a claim against the apartment landlord.
However, when a tenant is injured in a common area of the apartment building, the building owner or manager has a different level of responsibility and can be more frequently sued to be held accountable. In general, an apartment landlord has the same responsibility to take care of the parking lot and sidewalks as any other business owner. The same is true for injuries that occur in the entry area of the apartment building, the stairway, the hallways, etc. Our injury lawyers have represented several people in Minnesota who fell down the stairwell at their apartment building because there was tacking left in newly laid carpeting, the stairway was wet because of a leaky ceiling, the railing gave out, they were burned in a fire in the building, etc. The landlord can often be held responsible in those situations. To have the best chance of recovery, you should try to get photographs of the area where you were injured as soon as possible after the accident. You should also get the names and contact information of any witnesses. It is particularly helpful to our MN personal injury lawyers if we can find other apartment tenants who have had problems in the same area, or who have previously notified the landlord of the problem, e.g. poorly maintained parking lot.
A landlord is also responsible for an injury to the guest or visitor of the renter. The level of responsibility the apartment landlord has to the guest or visitor is the same as to the tenant. However, if the accident occurs inside the apartment, the tenant could also be responsible to the injured guest or visitor. This is another good reason why apartment renters should have renters’ insurance. Renters’ insurance will cover your possessions if they are stolen or damaged by fire in your apartment. Renters insurance will not pay for your injuries or any family member who lives with you, but it will pay for injuries to guests or visitors to your apartment if you are partially at fault for the accident.
If you sustain a personal injury at an apartment building and want to sue the owner or landlord, please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are Minnesota personal injury lawyers with more than 25 years of experience successfully handling hundreds of personal injury cases in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and throughout the state. An injury attorney will discuss your case with you and explain your rights. We are also happy to meet with you at our office or your home. Our personal injury lawyers will meet with you at our offices in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Woodbury, and Edina. Our attorneys also frequently meet with a renter and discuss their apartment building injury cases at their homes in St. Paul MN, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Rogers, Brooklyn Park, Bloomington, Richfield, Apple Valley, Roseville, Maplewood, and other surrounding cities in Minnesota. Our primary focus is to make sure your medical bills are paid, lost wages reimbursed, and that you receive complete compensation for your injuries. There is no obligation on your part, and we never charge anything unless you are compensated for your injuries.