In the summer, many residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey spend their vacations at the Jersey shore and rent houses or condos for 1 week, 2 weeks or the entire summer. What happens if the summer rental tenants are injured while staying at the rental homes? Do they have legal rights? What should they do?
Landlords such as the home or property owners at the Jersey shore have a duty to make sure that their homes or condos are in reasonably safe condition for persons/tenants coming onto the property.
A dangerous condition at a rental home can create an unreasonable risk of harm to the tenants. A landlord cannot argue that the injuries are unforeseeable if an unsafe condition at the home exists and the landlord knew about the condition or should have known about the condition.
Apartment trip and fall lawsuit result obtained by Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. - $685,000 verdict for a man who fell down steps at his apartment
Consider the following: A family rents a second floor condo in Ocean City, New Jersey. The family arrives at night. In order to get to the condo, the family has to go up a flight of wooden stairs. The light that usually illuminates the stairway is broken; therefore, it is difficult for the family to see when going up the stairs. In addition, the stairway railing is not properly secured, unbeknownst to the family. The wife trips on a step because she could not judge the height of the step. She grabs the railing to prevent a fall, but falls regardless because the railing detached from the wall. As a result, she falls down several steps and fractures her ankle. She needs medical treatment and will be in a cast for 10 weeks.
The tenant wife can file a trip and fall accident lawsuit in NJ against the landlord and may recover financial compensation for her injuries and pain and suffering.
Hotel stairway tip and fall accident result - $900,000 settlement for a woman who fell down steps at hotel
The landlord is probably going to be liable for the tenant wife's injuries. The landlord has a duty to ensure the premises is in a reasonably safe condition, including the steps leading to the condo. The fact that the stairway was not lit, coupled with the improperly secured railing presented a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm that someone was going to fall.
In addition, the tenant wife must prove that the landlord knew about the dangerous condition. If a previous tenant told the landlord about the broken light and the unsecured railing, then the landlord knew about it and should have fixed it.
If the landlord did not have actual knowledge of it, he may still be liable if he should have reasonably discovered it. For example, Jersey shore rentals are typically rented out on a short term basis, i.e., 1 week or 2 weeks. After tenants check out, the landlord comes by the premises to do an inspection to make sure everything is clean and safe for the next tenants. He should have discovered that the railing on the stairway was not secured because he should have checked it. He also should have checked to make sure the stairway light was working. Therefore, the landlord will likely be liable for the tenant wife's injuries.
If you were injured in a trip and fall accident at a rental home, call the seasoned lawyers at White and Williams LLP. Daniel J. O'Brien and his team have handled countless trip and fall accident cases in NJ and PA. FREE consultations. 877.944.8396