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Omaha Apartment Complex Injury Lawyer

Holding Negligent Landlords Liable for Injuries

Landlords have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for those living in and visiting their communities. Safety inspections have to be done on a yearly or sometimes monthly basis and tenants and guests must be notified if something that could be potentially dangerous is on the premises.

Although most landlords work hard to provide a safe environment, accidents do happen. When they do, injured persons may wonder if the property owner is liable for their injuries. Let’s have a look at the law.

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Premises Liability Law

The premises liability law holds landlords or even tenants responsible if someone legally enters a property and gets injured due to a dangerous condition. The most common injury is a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall caused by wet floors, snow, ice, and faulty stairs. Other dangers could be animal attacks, swimming pool incidents, a broken elevator, or a violent attack by a tenant or guest.

Typically, when you file a claim against a landlord or tenant, a judge will determine which group you fall into and, depending on how you are labeled, determine how liable the accused is. The group types are:

  • Trespasser: If you entered without permission, then the landlord has no legal responsibility to keep you safe. The exception would be if the landlord knew you were present and didn’t warn you of the dangers.
  • Lawful entrants: Licensees and invitees fall into this category. If you are a guest of someone living on the property, you have slightly more protection, but it would have to be proven that the owner did not make you aware of the dangers. Customers are provided with protection because it is the responsibility of the landlord or owner to inspect the premises and ensure that it is safe before inviting others onto the property.

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Do I Have an Apartment Complex Case?

Premises liability claims are often complex. Each case is different, and the claimant’s "burden of proof" varies depending on the circumstances. To win, you must usually prove:

  • You were on the owner’s premises with their consent or invitation;
  • The owner either created a dangerous condition, knew of the dangerous condition, or would have discovered the dangerous condition if the owner had been reasonable;
  • The owner should have realized the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm;
  • The owner should have expected that you would not discover or realize the danger, or would fail to protect yourself from the danger;
  • The owner failed to properly address the condition and make it safe or did not properly notify you (i.e., mopping a wet floor and not putting a "wet floor" sign in the area or verbally telling you when he saw you walking towards that area); and
  • The condition caused you to suffer harm.

For example, if a person walks into a dark common-area stairwell at an apartment complex, he might not notice a faulty staircase or step until it’s too late, but the property manager should have known ahead of time that there was an issue.

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Tips for Building a Strong Case

Proving that there was no way you could have known of the apartment complex danger ahead of the landlord can be tricky.

For example, if you slip and fall near the pool, the first question you might be asked is why you didn’t see that it was wet. Be prepared. Some helpful things to do after a fall are to:

  • Be sure there is a written report of the incident. Without it, the landlord could say that it didn’t happen or he had no knowledge of the incident.
  • Talk to a tenant. See if the tenants were aware of the issue.
  • Write down the names of witnesses. It is helpful to have other people who can corroborate what happened. Get their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses, if possible.
  • Take photos. A photo of the condition of the area when you fell can help paint a picture for the judge and jury.

There are many more steps for a case to be successful. Contact an Omaha premises liability attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation to talk about your situation. We have extensive experience with premises liability cases, and we can help get you the recovery you deserve.

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Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.