If you have been injured at your apartment complex, you may have the right to sue the property owner, the property management company or other parties if you can prove that they acted negligently.
Negligence cases are rarely cut and dry, though, creating the need for a Colorado Springs premises liability lawyer to help you sort out the details. Legal questions like your own contributory fault, the nature of the hazard that caused your injury and details like the weather or lighting conditions in the building can all affect your ability to file a claim.
To learn more about whether or not you could sue your apartment complex, read on.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal principle stating that someone’s own careless actions were the direct cause of an injury.
To prove negligence, an injured person needs:
- Someone who had an expected duty of care, like a landlord who should repair crumbling concrete steps
- A breach in that duty, such as ignoring the problem even though it was visible or a history of not inspecting aging building elements
- A hazardous condition created by that breach in duty, like a piece of step that will crumble underneath the next person who walks upon it
- An injury directly caused by the hazard, meaning that the responsible party’s breach in duty directly caused the injury
When considering liability for the condition of rented buildings, apartment complex owners or property managers have an elevated duty of care compared to the average person. They must abide by all tenant laws and property rental statutes while also acting professionally as would be expected under a standard business owner.
For example, a normal person may not have face liability if the driveway they built has blatant flaws in it that create dangerous black ice patches, but an apartment complex is expected to be more careful when designing and maintaining common access points and entryways, especially if there has been a history of accidents.
Contributory Negligence and the “Reasonable Person” Test
Even though landlords may have more responsibilities as business and property owners, they cannot possibly know everything. So, for instance, if they kept up with inspections and repairs but missed that a hornet’s nest had begun to form in the interior siding of the building, a jury may see that as a freak occurrence that could not possibly have been prevented.
However, if the same landlord had completely failed to maintain siding and knew that prior tenants had been attacked by hornets, a major injury caused by the nest could conceivably be their fault under negligence tests.
At the same time, the injured person also has a responsibility to watch out for their own safety. So if they fall prey to an easily identifiable hazard, like a hard-to-miss ice patch they slipped on in full daylight, a jury may determine that the person was more at fault than the landlord.
Fight for Your Rights with a Colorado Springs Premises Liability Lawyer
Gray areas like the ones described above can create figurative pitfalls for your personal injury claim. Make sure you understand the complex factors in your case while also documenting evidence that can strengthen your claim with the help of an experienced Colorado Springs injury attorney.
Contact Heuser & Heuser now using the number above or the convenient contact form to the right to potentially start your injury claim today.