Perhaps you slipped on ice in your apartment building’s parking lot. Or, maybe you have asked your landlord to repair a broken front step and after your requests went unanswered, you slipped and fell on the stairs. Whatever the cause of a slip and fall on your landlord’s property, you are likely wondering if you can file a lawsuit against them. The answer, like most legal issues, is maybe. To file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against your landlord, you must first prove they were negligent and therefore, liable for paying damages.
When are Landlords Negligent?
It is sometimes easy to assume that your landlord is at fault for everything that happens on the property. However, that is not always the case. To prove that your landlord was negligent, you must prove that your landlord knew of a dangerous condition and that they did not correct it, or did not fix it in a reasonable amount of time.
For example, you may slip on a broken step and sustain a serious injury. If you knew about the broken step and told your landlord about it but they did not do anything to fix the situation, that is an example of negligence. However, if the dangerous condition developed suddenly and you did not tell your landlord about it, you likely cannot hold them liable for paying you damages.
How Your Lease May Affect Liability
Even if the dangerous condition has existed for some period of time and you had told your landlord about it, the clauses within your lease may still shield your landlord from liability. For example, if you slipped and fell on ice that was not removed from your property, you may think you can hold your landlord liable. However, if your lease states that you are responsible for removing snow and ice from the property, you cannot hold your landlord liable. If there is no such provision within your lease, you can file a claim against your landlord.
How the Statute of Limitations Affects Your Claim
There are instances in which you cannot hold your landlord liable for a slip and fall even when they were responsible for a hazardous condition and did not correct it. The statute of limitations is a common issue raised in these cases and if it has passed, you do not have a valid claim. The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file your claim. In Pennsylvania, you have only two years from the date of the accident to file and if you do not file your case during this time, you will forfeit your right to claim damages.
Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania Today
If you have slipped and fallen on the premises of your rental property, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers are here to assist with your case. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our skilled attorneys can advise on whether you have a valid claim and if so, help you navigate the claims process so you recover the maximum damages you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.