You went to visit a friend at their apartment building, but the light bulbs in their staircase had burned out. You ended up slipping and falling and breaking your arm in the dark staircase.
You try to bring the issue to the attention of the landlord, but they shrug off your concern. They claim that a burned-out light could happen at any time and that they couldn’t possibly be responsible for you getting hurt just because the light bulb burned out.
When does someone who gets hurt on private property or at a business because of bad maintenance or poor cleaning habits have grounds to make a premises liability claim?
Was the incident easy to foresee?
There are numerous factors that influence your right to a premises liability claim. Your own misconduct could play a role. So can the likelihood of the landlord or owner’s repair practices leading to an injury. If the issue was something that another person would reasonably consider dangerous, the landlord may ultimately be liable.
Dark stairs are a known hazard. There is little question of the importance of adequate lighting in stairways to minimize the risk of people falling. Landlords should absolutely have systems in place to address scenarios that will likely lead to people getting hurt, like dark stairways.
Frequent inspections, smart building systems that alert maintenance when work is necessary and a proactive approach towards cleanliness are all necessary to maintain safe facilities. If you can show that a reasonable person could foresee what happened to you given the lack of maintenance or cleaning, then you may have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Exploring the situation that led to your injury can help you determine whether an insurance claim or civil lawsuit is the right response to your losses.