Rental Houses and Apartment Complexes
You Can Sue Your Landlord for Falling on Your icy and Snowy Parking Lot or Sidewalk
Sometimes, the most dangerous place to be is where you live.
Apartment complexes, rental houses and other rental properties often have landlords who cause injuries by failing to prevent dangerous conditions on the property. This includes a failure to remove snow and ice from sidewalks and parking lots where tenants live and drive.
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Most people in the United States live in apartments or other residences of many people grouped together.
That means that most people put their safety into the hands of landlords and property managers to maintain the community property, including parking lots and sidewalks, in a reasonably safe condition.
Unfortunately, some of those same landlords and property managers can shirk their duties which can lead to life-changing injuries to residents and lessees who fall upon their property. Oftentimes, these falls occur when people are walking upon snowy or icy or rainy sidewalks and parking lots.
Attorney Jeff “JJ” Shaw has handled hundreds of slip and falls against apartment complexes and other landlords — both big and small — in Indiana throughout the decades.
Many residents worry that suing a landlord will result in an eviction or rent being raised. If this happens, I guarantee you that your lawsuit just increased in settlement value. Reactionary and punitive measures by landlords like eviction notices or other retaliatory conduct, if entered into evidence, can make a jury realize that you have been wronged more than just the typical slip and fall victim.
These cases typically involve slip and falls in both parking lots and sidewalks outside or other common areas such as foyers, stairways and entrance/exit paths inside.
There are literally all types of landlords — some are huge multi-city, multi-complex property owners; others own only a single property. And because there are so many different types of property owners, there are different types of safety measures taken by them.
But the inquiry is always the same: did the landlord act reasonably in trying to keep its property safe for visitors and tenants?
Some of the huge property owners have their own internal janitorial or snow/ice removal and maintenance crews. Some others hire big property managers to take care of safety during snowy and icy weather. Others merely hire a local guy or local snow plow company to come plow when snow accumulates to a certain level (usually most contracts call for a snow plow operator to come out when snow accumulates to 2 inches or more in the parking lots).
But apartment complexes all have unique problems. For example, how can a parking lot ever be cleared or plowed correctly when residents have automobiles and cars on those same parking lots at all times of day and night?
How can a landlord be everywhere at once?
Is it enough to simply hire a local guy or local company to come and plow parking lots?
The answers to these questions are difficult. Of course, a jury ultimately decides what is reasonable conduct to keep the property safe by the landlord.
Oftentimes, these landlords have contracts with local snow plow companies to salt and plow snow and remove ice from the parking lots. A careful examination of these contracts is necessary to know whether the provisions were followed correctly or followed at all.
It’s important to have an experienced slip and fall attorney review the snow and ice removal and maintenance contracts. Each of them is different. It’s important to know if the contract with the snow plow company was adhered to or has inherent flaws that made the parking lot or sidewalks unreasonably dangerous for residents to walk upon.
Another common defense is when the lease contains “exculpatory clauses” that try to prevent tenants from suing their landlord for negligence. Shaw Law Offices has handled dozens of cases involving “exculpatory clauses” and other waivers of liability clauses in tenant/landlord contracts.
Serious injuries can occur when somebody falls on ice. It’s important to know how to proceed.
Shaw Law Offices has a network of nationwide snow plow expert witnesses and property management expert witnesses who can form and give an opinion as to whether the injury suffered was preventable.
Contact us today to investigate your apartment building or residential slip and fall.
Don’t be embarrassed and assume it’s your fault if you fall down.
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