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Apartment injuries: When is your landlord liable?

Picture yourself in the lobby of your apartment building, just picking up mail like any ordinary day. But as you walk away, the floor becomes extremely slippery, and you slip and fall. Your back hurts, you have bruises and you now require medical attention on top of being absent from work. As the costs increase, you may worry about how you’ll pay for them.

Premises liability in Missouri

The theory of premises liability says that a property owner is responsible for maintaining the safety of their premises and can be held liable for any injuries or damages that occur there if they fail or neglect to do so. Inspecting for potential safety hazards, addressing known problems and placing warning signs are all part of property maintenance. In Missouri, whoever has possession or control of the premises is responsible.

If the accident occurred inside your flat, you may not be able to hold your landlord liable. In general, landlords are not liable for damages if the injury was caused by something that developed after transferring the property to the tenant.

However, if you have an accident in a common area of the apartment, you may be able to file a premises liability claim against your landlord. This is because no single tenant has exclusive possession or control of a common area; everyone is welcome to utilize it. Common areas include public places that the landlord maintains, such as lobbies, stairwells, fire exits and parking lots.

Other factors may influence who is at fault. The court will want to know where and how the injury happened. Depending on the circumstances, other parties, such as the building owner, landscaping company or developer, may be held liable if you can demonstrate that they failed to perform their duty.

Steps to take after a slip-and-fall

There are three key steps to take after a slip-and-fall injury. First, take photos or videos of the situation as it can be essential in proving negligence. Second, visit a doctor, and third, inform the landlord. Skipping these steps may make it more difficult to recover damages.

Another challenge is identifying the responsible party. The at-fault party may argue that you caused your own injuries due to carelessness. If you need help gathering evidence and arguing for compensation, an attorney’s help may be what you need.