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Can A Tenant Sue A Commercial Landlord After A Fall Accident In PA?



Landlords in Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania have to keep their rental spaces, whether an apartment complex or office space, safe from unreasonably dangerous conditions.  We recently received a question from a tenant inquiring about his legal rights after he fell down a stairway in his office.

Question: I am an accountant, and my office is located in South Philadelphia.  I rent the office space, and I also have access to one of the storage closets in the basement for tenants in the building.  A few months ago, I noticed that a few steps of the wooden stairway leading to the basement were decayed.  I told the landlord about it, and he said he would fix it. A couple of weeks after I told him, I called him to remind him again that the steps needed to be fixed.  A few days later, I had to go in the basement to get some office supplies from my storage closet.  One of the decaying steps broke, and I fell down the stairs.  I had a concussion and couldn’t work for a few weeks.  I also injured my shoulder which may require surgery.  Can I sue my landlord?

Answer: Yes, you may sue your landlord for your injuries resulting from your stairway fall accident.  Your landlord has a duty to keep the common areas of the office space free of unreasonably dangerous conditions that may cause injury to his tenant.   If a tenant is injured due to a dangerous condition in common areas such as basements, parking lots, etc., the landlord may be held liable.  Under PA fall accident law, a landlord will only be held liable if he knew about the dangerous condition, i.e., he had notice.  In your situation, your landlord had notice of the dangerous condition; you informed him of it weeks before your fall accident.  Rather than fixing it, he failed to fix it.  Thus, he may be found negligent under the law.  Because he knew about the decaying stairway and failed to fix it, he will likely be held liable for your injuries.

Related PA Stairway Fall Accident Case Result: $900,000 settlement for a woman who fell down steps at a PA hotel

You may sue your landlord by filing a fall accident lawsuit in Philadelphia.  You may receive financial recovery for any medical expenses, past and future, related to your injuries.  For instance, if you already had shoulder surgery and will need subsequent surgery 2 years later, you may recover for the expenses incurred with the surgery and the expenses associated with the future surgery.  In order to calculate costs of future medical treatments, we would retain experts to calculate your future medical expenses.  Other than medical costs, you may also recover lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

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