Landlord-Tenant Personal Injury Lawyers
The landlord negligence injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg represent tenants and their guests all over Michigan who have been injured due to the negligence of a landlord or their property management company.
These cases are different than standard slip-and-fall or other negligence cases. Tenants are specifically protected by statute – in particular – MCL 554.139. This statute, or law, mandates a landlord to keep its premises in reasonable repair and fit for its intended use for tenants. It also requires to keep all common areas, like a parking lot, fit for its intended use. Failing to do so is a violation of the statute, which is negligence under the law.
There are very common examples of landlord negligence. Although no case or situation is the same, most of the cases our law firm has handled over the years usually falls into one of the following categories. Below is a synopsis of common landlord negligence cases that cause personal injury here in Michigan.
One of the most common causes of serious injuries inside a rental unit is when the railing brakes along a stairwell. Often this occurs inside a single-family home or rental unit. Typically, screws, nails and other fasteners are missing from years of neglect, causing the railing to give way and break apart from the wall itself. This type of event can be extremely dangerous, as a user of the railing is depending upon it when walking up or down a staircase. When it detaches or moves, it can cause the user to lose balance and tumble down the stairwell. This can lead to very serious personal injuries, such as a broken ankle, broken arm, fractured hip or other injury.
Aging and decaying steps can be very dangerous as well. Steps that are made of wood and cement begin to wear and tear over time, especially when exposed to outdoor elements. Sometimes wooden steps can snap and break in half because they are so rotted out they cannot support the weight of even a normal adult. When this happens, a person can lose his or her balance and fall hard. This leads to serious personal injuries.
These types of injury claims are easily preventable. Cement steps that are broken up and crumbling must be repaired or replaced. Wooden steps, whether indoor or outdoor, must be periodically inspected by a landlord or property management company to ensure they are in a reasonably safe condition. If they are not, they must be replaced or repaired in a suitable fashion.
Porch Deck Breaks
Some of the worst injury cases our firm has handled for injured tenants at a rental property involve a porch board that snaps and gives way, causing an unsuspecting person to fall. These types of injuries are dangerous because they often involve an elevated porch and cause the individual to fall down many feet to the ground below.
Outdoor porches wear over time. The freezing and thawing of winter, along with the summer heat, creates an immense amount of pressure on wooden porch boards and even synthetic materials. This can cause a part of the porch to weaken and break. Landlords and their property management companies must take extra precautions to ensure an outdoor porch is in a reasonably safe condition.
Failure to Remove Ice and Snow:
Another common case involving landlord negligence is the failure to remove snow and ice. Snow and ice are a common feature in Michigan during the winter months. Under the law, landlords have a duty to remove ice and snow that accumulates and remains for a certain amount of time. A brand-new snowfall is a natural accumulation, and landlords don’t have a duty to remove natural accumulations. But once the snowfall has remained on the ground for a time, usually a day or so, that snow must be removed from areas of the premises that individuals would normally use to walk.
However, there is a caveat for snow and ice cases at a rental property. These cases have grown increasingly difficult over the years. Landlords and property owners can now use the open and obvious defense when defending these cases and remove themselves from liability. The open and obvious rule says a property owner, such as a landlord, does not have a duty to remove conditions that are open and obvious and there to be seen, such as snow and ice. Because there is no duty, there is no negligence and therefore an injured person cannot obtain compensation for pain and suffering against the landlord or property manager.
Each landlord-tenant case is different. Please call our office if you have been injured due to the negligence of a landlord. The consultation is free, and there is no fee until we win your case. Give us a call at 1-800-LEE-FREE. Our team of landlord negligence injury lawyers can assist you and walk you through the process.