MIAMI PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER SHARES INSIGHT FOR UNDERSTANDING AND PREVENTING ACCIDENTS
PROPERTY MANAGER / LANDLORD LIABILITY
Injured inside an apartment building or complex?
-The Property manager or tenant may be held legally liable for injuries and losses.
Tenants are bound by law to pay the landlord rent. Fortunately, the rental agreement grants them the right to claim for injuries, damages, or losses that are a direct result of negligence on behalf of the property owner or manager, who must carry insurance in the event of an accident. An accident that occurs on another person’s property, should be dealt with by a premises liability lawyer.
A Premises Liability lawyer will gather information to verify whether there was third party negligence, and that the proprietor, manager, or operator of an establishment was aware of the potential dangers at the time of the accident that led to the client’s personal injury or property damage.
Many factors come into play when someone is injured inside an apartment or on the premises. After an accident, it is important to determine the cause and then verify whether the accident could have been prevented by the owner or property manager.
Accidents within an apartment can include any of the following:
- Busted water heaters– Water heaters need to be regularly inspected, at least every 3 – 6 months. All connections need to be inspected as well. A new water heaters has a lifespan of 6 – 1o years, depending on the brand. After which, the proprietor or property manager should consider replacing the water heater for a new one. An old or poorly serviced water heater can rupture, and thus lead to flooding which could cause a slip & fall accident, electrocution, or other. Signs of an old or malfunctioning water heater include: Interior / Exterior rust – Leaks – Rattling – Water comes out cold.
- Poor electrical wiring – Faulty wiring can lead to a fire within an apartment building. Old power sockets should be replaced and the use of extension cords limited to artefacts that do not consume a lot of electricity. Electric toasters, ovens, etc., consume a lot of electricity, and should be plugged into safe outlets. Light fixtures need to be properly connected and there should always be a circuit breaker in case of a power surge.
- Gas leaks – They are the number one cause of explosions and fires within apartment buildings. The gas should always be turned off after use. Ovens and stovetops should not be used to heat apartment interiors in the event of low temperatures.
- Water leaks – water leaks, either from the ceiling or leaky faucet, are the most common cause of slip & fall accidents within apartments, hallways, and staircases. Water leaks should be reported to the property manager or building superintendent immediately.
- Appliances that go without regular service or inspection – Toaster ovens, electric heaters, dishwashers, etc., have a life span and require maintenance such as proper cleaning. Food particles, dust, and other elements can sometimes affect their proper functioning.
- Loose railings or bannisters – Staircases are among the most dangerous places within apartment buildings. Slippery substances that go unnoticed can combine with loose handrails and lead to a serious slip & fall accident. The Perazzo Law Firm knows slip & fall accidents and the injuries that they cause when handrails and bannisters are loose and become unfixed.
- Poor lighting – Burnt out bulbs or tubes should be immediately replaced by the property manager or owner because poor lighting is a number one factors that cause slip and fall accidents on staircases and walking surfaces. Sometimes, lighting fixtures are not properly wired or connected and can lead to power failure. Lighting that goes out and which has been reported to the building administrator must be fixed as soon as possible in order for the responsible party to be free of negligence. Any failure to not make necessary lighting repairs can lead to a personal injury law suit for compensation by the accident victim.
BUILDING OPERATOR AND OWNERS BEING SUED FOR DAMAGES
Tampa Bay: A Tallahassee apartment complex was the site of a murder last November, and now the owners and operators are being sued by the victim’s mother. Though murder and negligence encompass two different areas of law, this particular case involves premises liability, which is handled by a personal injury attorney. On February 2, the victim’s mother filed suit against the property owners/operators for the alleged lack of safety measures which may have prevented the murder of her son on said premises. Apparently, the apartment complex is located amid areas known for crime and the property owners and operators failed to provide proper surveillance and security to protect against criminal activity such as burglary, theft, and murder. The premises liability claim, if successful, will award the victim’s mother and his surviving two-year son $60,000 and will serve to help tenants who have fallen victim to crime due to the negligence of building owners and operators.
Premises Liability and Crime in Apartment Buildings
The laws that govern Premises Liability mandate that landlords, operators, and/owners keep hallways, entrances, and stairwells hazard-free and pose no threat of injury or harm to occupants and guests. This responsibility includes walking surfaces, which must be kept free of substances that may cause a slip and fall, and any fixed or unfixed objects such as handrails, fire extinguishers, paintings, etc. When a crime or act of violence take place within the premises of an apartment building, the victim of a robbery or other crime may be able file a lawsuit for security negligence if there is substantial proof that the building or premises operator acted without care and didn’t take the necessary measures to help prevent an act of crime. In some cases, security negligence may stretch beyond the interior of the apartment complex and include the parking lot or any other area set within the premises. The landlord or building operator is responsible for providing an environment that is relatively safe for its occupants no matter where they are or when. This can be done by making sure entryways are secured by working locks and windows are intact, free from cracks or busted locks. In the event that the property operator was aware that a door or window didn’t close properly or locks were busted, and an individual enters to commit a crime, the victim may have justifiable right to a personal injury claim based on negligence by the landlord or property manager.
Things to consider if you were the victim of a crime as an occupant of the building in which you live:
- How did the criminal enter the premises?
- What time did the crime happen?
- Where did the criminal activity take place?
- What crime was committed?
- Could the crime have been prevented by the landlord or property manager?
These questions are fundamental when considering filing an insurance claim for compensation following a crime within the premises of an apartment building or any places that house people.
In Miami, the Perazzo Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys remind tenants that their lease may include arbitrary clauses which may absolve the landlord or property manager of any fault in the event of a crime. In this case, a mediation process must be considered. Unfortunately, that may lead nowhere despite any arguments on behalf of a personal injury lawyer to hold the landlord at fault for serious personal injury resulting from a crime on their premises. Furthermore, tenants must be advised that a lease, which is a rental agreement, holds both parties responsible for the acts that take place on said premises. Just like tenants must care for their living spaces and respect the rules established by the property manager, landlords must abide by premises liability laws which aim to safeguard against situations that may lead to personal injury, losses, or even wrongful death from accidents or crime.
What to do if you suffered injury or losses from a crime in an apartment complex
In the event that the building or complex is located in an area known for criminal activity, the property owner or operator has the duty to provide proper safety and security measures through surveillance cameras and security personnel. Furthermore, the property manager or landlord must notify tenants and occupants of any dangers that exist so that they can take any necessary precautions to safeguard their well-being. If you, a friend, or relative has fallen victim to criminal activity such as theft, burglary, vandalism, or sexual assault, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find out whether an insurance claim for compensation is viable.
Common Acts of Negligence by a Property Owner, Landlord, or Manager
Though most premises liability claims differ and no two are alike, one thing is always for sure; accidents can be prevented. But how is a crime an accident? A crime is not an accident, however, the failure to prevent such crime from taking place in an apartment complex or any premises housing tenants or occupants, is what an experienced personal injury lawyer will help prove through an investigation of the premises and how the criminal activity was allowed to occur.
Some examples of negligence by a Property Owner, Landlord, or Manager
- Failure to hire or train security personnel, especially in areas where criminal activity is common
- Failure to provide surveillance through cameras or motion sensors
- Poor lighting or signaling of areas that require attentiveness
- Failure to warn of any dangers that made lead to injury
- Malfunctioning locks or broken windows
- Lack of perimeter protection such as fences, gates, or doors
CONTACT the Perazzo Law Firm in Miami-Dade for a FREE initial consultation regarding an accident or injuries from criminal activity that takes place in an apartment building. Contact us for ZERO OUT-OF-POCKET FEES.
HOME DAMAGES – WHO’S AT FAULT?
Our homes tend to be our most valuable asset as a place to live as well as an investment for retirement. It is natural to want to insure your valuable asset. However, when a home suffers damage, most homeowners fail to report the loss to their insurance companies simply because they do not believe a loss may be covered. Some make a claim but fail to go any further when the insurance company rejects the claim. When your home suffers damage, it is important to consult a professional to find out your rights under the policy.
A large portion of homeowners dealing with damage fail to report it because they do not believed the loss is large enough or do not know it may be covered by the policy. Some homeowners attempt to make repairs themselves or hire a professional to make the repairs. When renewing your policy, the insurance company may want to inspect your property and may be less likely to renew the policy or may do so at a higher rate when previously unreported damage is discovered.
A professional you hire to make repairs to your property may be careless or inexperienced to make proper repairs. The insurance company may deny your claim if the repairs are made improperly. However, you may pursue the professional responsible for making improper repairs. Typically, repair professionals may be insured and bonded which allows the homeowners to recover compensation for faulty repairs. If the person making the repairs is not insured then you may be able to pursue compensation from that individual.
Additionally, the materials used in making repairs can cause damage or exacerbate existing damage. Defective dry wall made from toxic materials may cause health issues. In these cases, you may pursue the seller of the materials, the company making the installations or repairs and the manufacturer under the products liability theory of law.
Even if all the repairs and installations are made property and the loss to your home should be covered by the policy, the insurance company may still deny or underpay on your claim. An insurance policy is a fairly lengthy and complicated document, which is meant to be confusing and difficult to interpret. Moreover, the policy is filled with exclusions and exemptions from coverage for any number of reasons including failing to properly fill out insurance claim documentation. In situations like these, it may be important to consider filing a lawsuit for a breach of contract for failure of the insurance company to honor your claim.
The litigation process can be lengthy as the insurance company will use any defense to their advantage. It is important to understand your policy and your rights.
At The Perazzo Law Firm, we pride ourselves in representing the people of Florida and their families. We will always put our clients’ needs at the forefront of the fight against the corporate industry. Our Miami personal injury lawyers have dedicated their entire careers in fighting for your rights. Whether you seek compensation for injuries, fighting for justice for wrongful arrest or looking for a home, you can rest assured our lawyers will be there for you.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, we encourage you to call us at 786 LAWS-411 (786-529-7411) to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal rights
THE PERAZZO LAW FIRM – DEDICATED TO PUTTING YOUR INTERESTS FIRST!