TRIP + FALL INCIDENTS (RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY)
One of the most common ways by which members of our community become injured is by tripping and falling. Of course, there are many things which cause one to trip and fall. Below are a few tips to keep in mind for those trips and falls which happen inside a single family home or apartment building.
THE GENERAL RULES
In general, it is the responsibility of the owner of a single family home or apartment building to ensure that it is “reasonably safe” for all those legally on the property. That rule applies to both the inside and outside grounds of the building. Many owners are conscientious in maintaining their properties. However, too many owners and landlords collect rent every month but do not properly maintain their buildings. If a tenant is injured on the property where he lives, this does not automatically make the owner or landlord responsible for paying compensation for injuries sustained by the tenant. However, if the negligence of the owner or landlord resulted in the injuries then the owner or landlord is responsible. In that case, the homeowner’s insurance of the owner or landlord should pay for all “damages” sustained by the guest or tenant, including, but not limited to i) pain and suffering, ii) medical bills, iii) lost wages, iv) lost earning capacity, and v) scarring/disfigurement. One of the principal ways that the “negligence” of the landlord is proven is by showing that a building code violation caused the trip and fall. For example, a stairway, a balcony, or a deck may not satisfy the Massachusetts or International Residential Building codes. If that is the case, said violation is strong evidence of negligence. Often times, your lawyer will hire a building code expert, such as a former building inspector, an engineer, or an architect to view and photograph the site, write a report outlining the various building code violations, and support the legal position of the injured party.
WHAT TO DO IF INJURED?
So, what should a tenant or a tenant’s guest do if injured at a residential property?
- Immediately seek appropriate medical attention;
- Contact an attorney to learn your rights. It is important to do so while the physical evidence is fresh and available, and before the code violation is repaired;
- Contact the local building inspector to take a look at the building code deficiency and write a report;
- Place the landlord on notice – either yourself or through your lawyer.
Attorney Charlie Perrault and Perrault Blair Law Group offer extensive experience in representing the victims of trip and fall accidents and other personal injury claims. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions and help with your personal injury needs. Call us today at 978.975.4100 to schedule your free consultation. PerraultBlairLaw.com.