No matter where they take place, slip and fall accidents can lead to serious and painful injuries-which can upend every aspect of your life. As you face medical bills and other life concerns, you may be wondering if your landlord can be responsible for the slip and fall, and the answer could be, Yes.
Even if a landlord or property owner is legally responsible for your injury, however, you will need to show certain forms of evidence to make your case. These can be complicated personal injury claims, and you may want to have a slip and fall lawyer walk you through the legal process.
Premise Liability Law in Nevada
Property owners in Nevada generally have an obligation to ensure that their premises are safe. This applies to tenants, visitors, and customers, for example. When harm comes to anyone on a property in Nevada and plaintiffs want to file a lawsuit, this falls under the category of law known as premises liability law.
In Nevada, slip and fall accidents can occur in commercial establishments, residential buildings, rental apartments, and many other settings. While a lawyer can walk you through the best legal strategy to take based on the unique context of your case, there are a few essential elements that all valid premises liability cases have in common.
To demonstrate that a landlord is liable for your accident, you will need to show that:
- The individual, business, or other entity was in control of the premises at the time of the fall.
- You were on the property under the consent of the landlord or property owner.
- There were dangerous conditions on the premises.
- The danger on the premises caused the accident.
These four elements have been established through Nevada court rulings such as Deiss versus Southern Pacific Co. When you work with a Nevada slip and fall attorney, they will understand what it takes to prove your case and gather evidence to satisfy these four factors.
Examples of Dangerous Premises Conditions
In general, the landlord is responsible for maintaining safe conditions in common areas of apartment buildings. In an apartment building, this may include:
- Poorly-installed flooring: For example, suppose the property owner installs flooring in the hallway leading to each unit. The flooring has protruding nails, which causes someone to trip. In this case, the property owner failed to ensure that the flooring was safe.
- Wet floors from ceiling leaks: If a leaking ceiling in a common area caused wet floor conditions that led to your fall, the landlord may be liable.
- Poorly-lit areas: Your landlord may be responsible for keeping sidewalks and parking lot areas well lit. If a poorly-lit area caused your fall, they could be found liable.
In rented commercial buildings, your landlord may be responsible for the upkeep of other structural elements, but this depends on the unique terms of your lease. A lawyer can review the details of your case to determine if the landlord was responsible for a slip and fall hazard.
Determining if the Dangerous Condition Caused the Accident
It’s also important that victims can prove that their slip and fall accident, and their resulting injury, was caused by a dangerous condition on the premises.
For example, suppose you broke your leg while running up the stairs. In this case, you may not be able to prove that it was the stairs that caused the accident, if you were recklessly running up them and there were no dangerous defects in the staircase.
Who Is Responsible for a Slip and Fall in a Rented Building?
How to determine who is responsible for a slip and fall accident in a rented commercial building? What about in a rented apartment? Is it the landlord or the tenant?
This will depend on how and where the accident happened.
If the slip and fall accident occurred on commercial property, then responsibility for the contract will usually be determined depending on the terms of the contract between the landlord and the tenant.
For example, tenants may be held responsible because they usually have more control of the premises than the property owner. However, the property owner may be held responsible if they rented the property to the tenant with prior knowledge of the dangerous conditions.
Things can be different if the slip and fall takes place at a rented apartment. For example, if tenants suffer a slip and fall accident from personal items inside the apartment, then they are usually held responsible.
On the other hand, if the slip and fall accident was the result of faulty hardware, defective appliances, poor lighting, uneven flooring, or other structural items in the common areas of an apartment building, then the property owner will usually be held responsible.
When Slip and Falls Involve Employees
It’s also important to note what happens when a slip and fall accident involves employees. Usually in this instance, if employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then they do not have the right to sue their employers with a premises liability claim in the event of a slip and fall accident on work property.
However, if the landlord was especially negligent, hired negligent contractors to perform maintenance on the property, or other exceptional situations, the employee may be able to bring a lawsuit-if the landlord is not the worker’s employer.
When Are Landlords Not Responsible for a Slip and Fall?
In some situations, the landlord may not be found liable for a slip and fall. Some examples include when:
- The plaintiff was a trespasser. Per NV Rev Stat § 41.515, landlords do not owe a duty of care to trespassers on their property. However, there can even be exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the trespasser is a child or the landlord was found to have willfully caused harm to the trespasser, they could be liable for any injuries caused by a slip and fall.
- The hazard was “open and obvious.”In many past court rulings in Nevada, landlords were deemed to have no duty of care to warn people of dangers that are considered open and obvious. For instance, in Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp, the initial court ruling found that Costco was not liable when a shopper sustained injuries after stubbing their toe on a pallet left in an aisle. However, on appeal, the court reversed the initial ruling. Still, the open and obvious defense can still be used to deny liability on the part of a landlord or property owner.
There are several other ways that landlords may deny liability for a slip and fall. For instance, they may try to claim that the plaintiff contributed to their own fall by running in a low-lit area, or that the plaintiff already had a pre-existing injury before the fall. However, a slip and fall lawyer in Nevada can push back against unfair denials of liability.
Get Legal Help After Your Slip and Fall Accident
Have you recently suffered a slip and fall accident? Reach out to De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers for legal help, guidance, and advice for your next steps moving forward. We offer free consultations so you can learn your options. Contact us today: (702) 805-2694.