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I live in a condo that I rent from the owner. I recently slipped on water that leaked from the refrigerator. I was badly injured. Can I sue the condo owner?

 

A:

You can, if we can prove all of the necessary elements in order to prevail in a Pennsylvania slip and fall accident case.  A landlord, i.e., the condo owner, has a duty to protect his tenant(s) from unreasonably dangerous conditions on or in the rented premises.   If the landlord knows that an unreasonably dangerous condition exists in the apartment/condo and a tenant is hurt due to the dangerous condition, the landlord may be liable for the tenant's injuries.  This is the notice requirement an injured tenant has to prove against his landlord.  There are 2 types of notice: actual and constructive.  Actual notice is exactly what it sounds like, i.e., the landlord knew about the dangerous condition.  A landlord has constructive notice if the evidence shows that the landlord should have known about the dangerous condition.

Therefore, in order to make out a case against the condo owner for your slip and fall accident, we would have to prove that he knew or should have known that the refrigerator was in disrepair and likely to leak. 

Related: Proving Notice In A Pennsylvania Slip-Trip-Fall Accident Case

If the condo owner was notified by the previous tenant that the fridge leaked, but never took any steps to fix it, then the condo owner had actual notice and will probably be liable for your injuries.

If after the prior tenant moved out, the condo owner for whatever reason, didn't check all the appliances, including the refrigerator, to make sure they were in good repair, then it can be argued that the landlord had constructive notice.  If he checked the refrigerator, he would have noticed that the fridge was leaking and fixed it. 

However, we need to discuss your slip and fall accident in more detail.  There are other factors that may affect your potential case.  One of those things is your lease; it may contain certain language which could affect your ability to bring a claim.  For example, the lease may state that it is not the responsibility of the condo owner to maintain or fix the fridge.  Therefore, if the leak started after you moved in, then it would have been your responsibility to fix the leak.  If you didn't fix it and fell, then it is unlikely that you can sue the condo owner.  Therefore, we would need to see the lease.  We also want to determine how long you've been living in the condo, and find out the age of the refrigerator, etc., before taking action.

Feel free to give me a call about your case.  We always offer FREE consultations. 877.944.8396


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