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Article: I fell on my neighbor’s steps in Phoenix. She lives in a rental property. Who pays my bills?

I fell on my neighbor’s steps in Phoenix. She lives in a rental property. Who pays my bills?

If you fell on your neighbor’s steps in Phoenix and she lives in a rental property, your friend’s renter’s insurance or her landlord’s comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy should pay for your bills.

Your friend may have a renter’s insurance policy to cover her possessions in the event of theft, fire, or vandalism. The renter’s policy may cover your friend’s liability if a visitor suffers an injury on the premises.

Whether your friend’s renter’s insurance of the landlord’s CGL insurance will pay for costs related to your injuries depends on the specifics of the incident, such as where the injury occurred on the premises and who is considered at fault for the incident. If you or someone you love has been injured in Phoenix slip and fall accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Lambert Goodnow for a free case evaluation.

Landlord-Tenant Liability

The landlord isn’t always liable if a visitor is injured on his or her rental property. However, Arizona landlords do have numerous responsibilities when it comes to the safety of the property tenant and the habitability of the property occupied by a tenant. Depending on the situation in which a visitor was injured, the landlord may bear responsibility for the injured visitor’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It may be challenging for a landlord to understand where his responsibility ends to the tenant and visitors to the property. It may be even more challenging for the landlord to know how to respond or what to do when an injury occurs on the premises of the rental property. Under the law, the tenant has a legal right to enjoy the property without the landlord’s need to micromanage safety issues there.

Arizona’s Premises Liability law says that the owner of the rental property is obligated to ensure the safety of the tenant and visitors to the residence. If the owner fails to uphold his or her duty, an injured person can hold him or her liable for an accident. If you are injured while visiting the landlord’s property, he may bear financial responsibility for damages.

A serious personal injury can result in large medical bills, permanent disability, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lamber Goodnow to discuss your matter. The initial case review of your personal injury claim is free. Our services are offered on a contingency basis. You won’t receive a bill for legal fees unless you receive a compensation award.

Landlord Responsibility

In order for the landlord to be held responsible for an injury that occurred on the rental property, the tenant and you, the injured visitor, must demonstrate several facts.

Let’s say you, Susan, were trying to climb a short flight of stairs at your rental property. Ellen is the tenant. You are a visitor. You trip on a cracked step–you fall and breaks your right ankle. The landlord may be responsible for damages regarding your slip and fall injury if the following items are true:

• The landlord is responsible for property maintenance. If the accident occurred in a common area, the landlord is probably responsible for your injury.

• If Ellen previously notified the landlord about the stairs and the landlord didn’t make reasonable steps to repair the stairs or advise visitors of the potential risks of the stairs, (a) Ellen should note when she told the landlord about the problem. An email or letter to the landlord can demonstrate when Ellen told him about the stairs. (b) Ellen should also explain what the landlord did to repair the stairs, if anything, or what he did to warn her or visitors to the property about it.

• The landlord’s insurance company may argue that the disrepair was obvious – that it was something an average visitor or tenant would avoid.

• A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer is likely to respond that the landlord could have initiated the repair. If the repair was expensive or difficult to achieve, the landlord could have posted a sign or placed safety tape around the stairs to warn others. In this case, he didn’t.

The consequence of not repairing the problem was your serious injury. Before the injury occurred, a reasonable person might have asked, “Could someone get hurt if the stairs aren’t repaired?” Because your broken ankle was, in fact, foreseeable, the landlord may be liable for the injury.

Evidence of the Slip and Fall Accident

Because the landlord failed to maintain the rental property, he is probably responsible for your broken ankle. In our example, you must show that tripping on the broken stairs caused the fall and the broken ankle. In other words, it’s important to have medical records that show the broken ankle occurred on the date of the slip and fall.

After a serious accident like the one you experienced at the landlord’s property, you will no doubt have the required medical records and doctor’s notes to demonstrate what happened. You and Ellen may have pictures of the incident with a date and time stamp. If Ellen called an ambulance to take you to the emergency room or witnesses saw what happened, it’s important to have share contact information the personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced personal injury legal team at Lamber Goodnow will gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and prepare a case on your behalf.

As you can see, there are many possible factors to consider in a Phoenix premises liability case. The facts may be simple to understand or they may be complex. Each personal injury case is different. Call an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your potential case.

Resources:

http://www.azbar.org/media/58823/premises_liability_2013.pdf

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