Data published by the United States Census Bureau shows that in Massachusetts, the owner-occupied housing rate is only 62.4 percent, which means that about 37 percent of people in our state choose to rent their homes. These rental properties include apartments, condos, townhouses, mobile homes, and single-family homes, all of which could serve as the location for a serious injury or health issue suffered by a tenant. If you are someone who has been harmed on your rental property, you may have a claim for damages against your landlord. Call our experienced personal injury lawyer, Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, to learn more.
Common Injuries Suffered by Tenants
The list of potential injuries that a tenant may suffer in a property that is ill-maintained or unsafe is extensive. Some of the most common injuries suffered by tenants include:
- Slip and falls. Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of injury in apartment buildings and other rental units. These may occur as a result of defective or unsafe conditions on the property, such as unremoved snow and ice.
- Deck and balcony falls. If a deck or balcony collapses, the injuries suffered by anyone standing on that deck or balcony (or anyone below) can be extensive.
- Assault, robbery, and other crimes. Negligent security in a building can lead to a host of injuries that are the result of criminal actions, such as assault or sexual assault.
- Swimming pool-related injuries. In rental units that maintain a swimming pool, swimming pool-related injuries, such as a near-drowning incident, are possible.
- Mold, lead, and other environmental-hazard injuries. Toxins and other environmental hazards within a unit can lead to serious health problems for those exposed.
Can I Bring Forth a Personal Injury Claim Against My Landlord?
If you have suffered a serious injury or health problem as a result of a hazard or defective condition on or within the rental property where you live, you may be able to hold your landlord liable for any damages you’ve suffered. To be sure, a landlord has a legal duty to maintain a property in a reasonably safe condition and to repair any known hazards within a reasonable amount of time. You may be able to hold your landlord liable if:
Your injury was a result of a hazard in a common area (such as broken stairs in a shared hallway);
- Your landlord had a duty to maintain the area where the incident occurred;
- You reported an inter-unit defect to your landlord (such as mold growth) and your landlord failed to respond in a reasonable amount of time;
- The repair that was necessary to correct the hazard was not unreasonably difficult; and
- Your injuries were a direct result of the hazard (i.e. you wouldn’t have fallen but for the missing board in the stairs in the shared hallway).
However, you must be mindful, that there are occasions where tenants do bring a personal injury claim against the landlord and a landlord may proceed with an eviction action against the tenant whether or not a tenant is still paying rent. While this could be viewed as retaliation and present a good defense to an eviction action, if the landlord proceeds in court with the eviction, many times the tenant would need to hire his or her own attorney to defend the eviction. If the tenant is planning on moving out, then obviously it would not be an issue. This, in no way, should prevent the tenant from exercising his/her rights to claims compensation for personal injuries but a tenant needs to be aware of the consequences in doing so.
Call Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More
If you think that you have a personal injury claim against your landlord, our team at the office of Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, wants to meet with you. Deborah Gold-Alexander, Attorney at Law, has over 30 years’ experience representing clients in personal injury claims and can review your case free of charge. Call today or send us a message to learn more.