Can I Sue My Landlord?

Yes, you can.  If the landlord was at fault in causing a dangerous condition on the rental property.

There are many types of situations where a tenant is hurt while renting property.

It’s important to remember to establish a claim for “negligence” on the part of a landlord or apartment complex, you must show that the duty of “reasonable care” was breached (not met). This means the property owner must have actual or constructive knowledge (knew or should have known) of the presence of the hazardous condition in order to be held liable. Schulz v. Kroger Co., 963 N.E.2d 1141, 1144 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012).

Types of Claims Against Landlords for Injuries on Rental Properties

Tenants can get hurt if they slip and fall on a hazardous condition on the landlord’s property – but only under certain circumstances. These include slip and falls in common areas (areas where all tenants are welcome like hallways or meeting areas); slip and falls in parking lots and sidewalks; or slip and falls due to defects within the apartment or rental property.

Other cases include a dangerous condition on the property about which you've warned the landlord, such as missing handrail or cracked stairs.  If you are attacked by another tenant or a criminal, that is called a “negligent security” case (see the section on “negligent security” on this website).

Landlords can be held liable for tenants who slip on ice and snow on sidewalks and the parking lot that is potentially dangerous. A landlord or apartment complex owner simply cannot ignore snow and ice conditions and hope to avoid liability. Affirmative action must be taken -- a property owner has a general duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition – and this duty applies to the removal of natural accumulations of snow and ice. Hammond v. Allegretti, 262 Ind. 82, 311 N.E.2d 821 (1974).

How to Start an Indiana Slip and Fall Injury Landlord Case

In order to pursue a personal injury case for a slip and fall accident in Indiana, you must prove “negligence” to be successful. Negligence is the failure to exercise “reasonable care” under the circumstances.

At Shaw Law, we believe it is never “reasonable” to do anything but the safest choice available to the landlord – especially if that choice costs nothing or a little bit more of money to make the property safe for everybody. Consult with us at Shaw Law to get straight talk and real answers whether you have a claim against your landlord.

When are Landlords Responsible for My Injuries in Indiana?

One way to hold a landlord responsible for a dangerous condition is if they would have discovered the condition based on a reasonable inspection of the property, or if you or another tenant informed them about the dangerous condition and they took no action to fix it.

Another way to hold a landlord responsible is if the landlord was aware of the dangerous condition and didn't put up an appropriate warning sign to advise you of the potential danger.

Can I Recover for Slip and Falls in My own Apartment

Maybe. Sometimes a person can get injured slipping and falling in his own apartment – or be injured by deficient items within the apartment – such as a leaking dishwasher or tub which deposits water on floors to make them unsafe.

“Notice” of the defect is important in cases where you are injured inside your own apartment. Keep track of all complaints made to a landlord and repairs made to your apartment or house. It might be important later if that item causes your injury.

If you have informed the landlord and the landlord fails to correct this condition and you suffered injuries in an accident as a result, you can try to prove that the landlord was negligent.  

Another important consideration is the lease itself. Some leases surrender possession of the entire premises to you, the tenant, which attempts to relieve the landlord for any liability in a subsequent injury during the leasehold.

Some leases have what is known as "exculpatory clauses" which attempts to relieve the landlord from his own negligence for all types of tenant injuries.  Indiana allows these types of clauses -- that's why it is important to see Shaw Law after an injury at a rental house caused by any landlord to see if the clause is valid or not.

The bottom line is this – it’s difficult to navigate a personal injury case against a landlord or apartment complex without excellent legal assistance.

Call us at Shaw Law for real answers. We get you back on your feet.