If You’re Injured at Home, Can Your Landlord Be Held Liable?
If you become injured because of your landlord’s negligence, and if you can prove it with help from an Orange County premises liability lawyer, the law in California entitles you to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, personal pain, suffering, and related damages.
Under California law, what constitutes negligence on the part of a landlord? What legal steps should you take if you have been injured because your landlord failed to repair a hazard on the property? When should you contact an Orange County premises liability attorney?
Keep reading for the answers to these questions. The first thing you should know is that recovering compensation from your landlord may not be easy. You and your lawyer may have to show exactly how your landlord was negligent and how that negligence caused your injury.
Who is Liable When Tenants Are Injured?
If you rent your home in Southern California – a house, condominium, mobile home, or apartment – your legal responsibilities and rights as a tenant are spelled out in the California Civil Code. Residential tenants have extensive legal rights in this state.
California law defines a landlord as the party that “owns, occupies, leases, or controls” a property. When a California landlord does not meet a landlord’s legal obligations or violates a tenant’s rights, the tenant has a right to pursue legal action.
Residential landlords must ensure that tenants have working heat, plumbing, and hot water. A landlord must be compliant with state and local health, safety, and building codes. If repairs are necessary, a landlord must pay for and make the repairs within a reasonable period of time.
Injured at Home? Take These Steps
If you are injured at home, the law may hold your landlord liable if your injury was caused by a hazard on the property. If your landlord knows about a hazard at your residence and fails to remedy or repair it, and you are injured as a result of that failure, the landlord may have liability.
If you believe that your landlord is responsible for injuries you have sustained at your residence, after you’ve been examined and treated for those injuries by a medical provider, schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with an Orange County premises liability lawyer. That lawyer will explain your rights and determine if you have grounds for taking legal action.
If you move forward with a premises liability claim, your attorney will review the evidence, protect your rights, and negotiate (usually with your landlord’s lawyer or homeowners insurance company) for compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages.
Will Your Case Go to Trial?
Most premises liability claims in California are resolved out-of-court, and most injured victims of negligence never have to appear in a courtroom.
However, if your claim cannot be settled privately – because the liability for your injury is disputed or because no reasonable settlement amount is being offered in the private negotiations – an Orange County premises liability attorney will take your case to court.
At a premises liability trial, your attorney will explain to a jury how you were injured and how extensively you were injured. Your attorney will then ask the jurors to find in your favor and order the payment of your compensation.
What Will a Premises Liability Trial Consider?
Listed here are the questions that must be asked and answered in premises liability trials when a tenant brings a claim against a landlord:
- Was the landlord aware of the hazard that injured you?
- If not, should the landlord have been aware of the hazard?
- Could a warning have prevented your accident and injury?
- Could the landlord have acted to prevent your accident and injury?
In some cases, the precise nature of a landlord’s negligence may not be easy to determine or describe, but a Southern California premises liability lawyer will know what it takes to prevail with your claim and recover the compensation you are entitled to by law.
How Do Landlords Respond to Injury Claims?
Even if you have been visibly and seriously injured, a landlord may not compensate you until you take legal action. In some cases, simply retaining an attorney, or having your attorney write a letter to the landlord, may be all it takes to recover your compensation.
In other cases, however, a landlord may dispute your premises liability claim, charge that your own negligence was the cause of your injury, and offer one of these defenses:
- A reasonable person would have noticed and avoided what was an obvious hazard.
- You were adequately warned of the hazard that caused your injury.
- You were not actually injured, or you were injured at another time and place.
What Can an Injury Victim Recover?
If you are injured at your residence because your landlord was negligent, how much compensation can you recover? Without details, there is simply no way to know. After reviewing the facts of your case, your attorney will determine how much compensation you should seek.
Under the law, if you have been injured because someone else was negligent, you are entitled to recover compensation for:
- current and projected future medical costs
- lost wages and projected future lost wages
- personal pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- related losses and damages (such as transportation and child care costs)
When Should You Reach Out to a Premises Liability Lawyer?
In California, with very few exceptions, you must file an injury claim within two years of the date you are injured, but realistically, you cannot wait two years to begin the legal process. Your injury may be keeping you from work at the same time your medical bills are piling up.
Moreover, the success of your injury claim may depend on your attorney examining the evidence before it deteriorates – or disappears – and speaking to any witnesses before their recollections begin to fade. After a medical provider has treated you, contact an attorney at once.
As mentioned previously, if you’ve been injured by your landlord’s negligence, your first consultation with an attorney is provided without cost or obligation. If you proceed with your claim, you will owe no fees to your attorney until – and unless – you are compensated.
The State of California does not tolerate negligent landlords. Every tenant has the right to a home that is reasonably safe and secure. If that right has been violated by your landlord, and you’ve been injured, put the law to work for you, and contact a premises liability lawyer immediately.