Many Texans rent their living accommodations rather than owning. If you do, you are guaranteed the right to a healthy and safe living environment. Unfortunately, not all Texas landlords provide their tenants with reasonably safe living spaces, whether homes, apartments, condos or other habitations. When this happens, people can be injured as a result. If you have been injured in an apartment accident or injured due to the negligence of a landlord in another type of rental property, you can sue your landlord for getting hurt in many circumstances. However, landlords are not automatically liable for all injuries tenants suffer at their rental properties.
A personal injury lawsuit against a landlord can only be successful if you can prove that you were injured due to your landlord’s negligence, carelessness, and prove that they caused or contributed to the injuries through various types of evidence, including pictures or videos of the accident, medical records and bills, police reports or other government entity investigative documents, witness statements, and more. The tenant must show the landlord’s action or inaction naturally and foreseeably caused his or her resulting physical injury. Sometimes landlords can also be held legally responsible for injuries to guests or other people visiting the rental unit.
When a landlord’s behavior is the proximate cause of a tenant’s injury, a court can hold the landlord liable even if they didn’t intend any harm. An act or failure to act by the landlord can be considered the proximate cause of a tenant injury when an ordinary person could reasonably foresee that the landlord’s actions or inactions would cause the injury that occurred.
Tenant Injuries in Unsafe Rental Properties
The theory of liability often used in rental property injury cases is called premises liability. Under this area of the law, your landlord has a duty to fix unsafe conditions when notified by a tenant and failed to do so. Important components of this type of personal injury case include:
- Fixing the problem would not have been unreasonably expensive.
- The accident would not have occurred if your landlord had fixed the problem.
- Your injury was serious and foreseeable.
- Your landlord’s failure to fix the condition or warn of the hazard caused your injuries.
Rental property accidents can be caused by any number of issues, though common causes can include broken staircases, defective or malfunctioning railings, broken or absent carbon monoxide/smoke detectors, damaged floors, asbestos, and more. In addition, landlords must comply with all applicable health and safety laws, and their failure to do so can be considered automatically negligent and make them liable for any resulting accidents and injuries.
If you are injured in an apartment or other rental property and the injury was caused by an unsafe condition, you must act quickly to ensure your rights are protected. Take the following immediate steps so you can sue your landlord for getting hurt:
- Get emergency medical attention. Seeking timely and adequate medical treatment is crucial both for your own health and safety and also to document the extent and severity of your rental property injuries. Your doctor’s report and potential testimony can be critical in persuading an insurer and/or a judge or jury about the amount of compensation that you deserve to be paid for the injuries you suffered.
- Take pictures or video of the accident scene, your own body – including your clothing and footwear, and any injuries or have someone else assist you if your injuries prevent you from being able to do this yourself.
- Document what happened in writing, even if it is “written” in the Notes application on your mobile phone so that you can capture the events as they happen while your memory is still fresh and before you have a chance to forget anything.
- Inform your landlord in writing that you were injured and ask them to contact their insurance provider. If the landlord does not take the appropriate steps, you should move forward with bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
- Preserve evidence of your financial losses such as medical bills, lost wages, pay stubs, transportation receipts, parking receipts, and more.
South Texas Lawyers for Tenant Injury Cases
Those injured in rental property accidents only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against their landlord to recover financial compensation for their damages. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the incident – meaning, an injury victim or the family of someone wrongfully killed only has two years from the date of the injurious event to sue a negligent landlord. Waiting longer than two years will most likely bar your right to seek or recover financial compensation.
The Weslaco, Texas personal injury trial lawyers of Ezequiel Reyna Jr. Law Office have over 40 years of experience handling cases like yours. We are proud to represent and serve the members of our community in both English and Spanish and to help you recover the financial damages you are due if someone else causes you harm.