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I was injured in an apartment complex. Who is liable?

In New York, the law places a good deal of responsibility on property owners to ensure that a property remains in a safe condition. However, landlords and property management companies do not shoulder the burden for every injury or environmental illness. It is vital to consult with an experienced personal injury and liability attorney if you believe your injury entails legal action.

In general, the liability for an injury depends on what caused the injury, and who carried the burden of safety in that instance.

Landlords generally must maintain safe outdoor areas, common areas, and address any maintenance issues within a property as quickly as possible to preserve the safety of the space.

Contrastingly, a landlord may not face full liability if a tenant does not report a safety issue, such as structural problem, electrical or plumbing problem, or other property danger that a landlord or agent of the landlord would otherwise not know about.

Landlord liability versus tenant’s responsibility

Let's say that you tripped on a poorly maintained staircase in a common area, and reached to grab the railing, but it was loose and did not support you. In the fall, you injured your leg and suffered a blow to the head.

This type of scenario may reasonably lead to a personal injury suit that recovers damages. The injury resulted from an element of the property that the landlord should have kept safe.

On the other hand, perhaps you were visiting friends in their apartment. They keep a very messy bathroom and have no shower curtain. After using their shower, you slip and fall on the floor, hitting your head on the toilet.

In this instance, placing the liability on the landlord is much more challenging, because he or she had nothing to do with the dangerous conditions — those were primarily brought on by your friends’ lifestyle.

Each case is different, and the details all matter. What is important is getting to the bottom of who should fairly compensate you for your injury.

Don’t fight for justice alone

If you have suffered an injury due to poor maintenance of property, you certainly deserve to have your circumstances professionally evaluated. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can explore many options for fair compensation using the full strength of the law. Proper legal counsel ensures that your rights remain protected throughout the process and you work to recover and move on to a new season and a fresh start.

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