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When Is a Landlord Liable for Injuries to a Tenant’s Guest?


Apartment buildings and complexes comprise a large percentage of the housing in New York City. Unfortunately, the common areas in these buildings are not always properly maintained, which sometimes leads to accidents that result in serious injuries. 

Landlords are not only responsible for maintaining reasonably safe premises for tenants—they also owe a duty of care to invitees, visitors, and guests. If a tenant’s guest is harmed as a result of a landlord’s negligence, the injured party may be entitled to assert a legal claim and obtain compensation for their damages.   

What Is a Landlord’s Duty to Keep the Premises Safe?

There are countless hazards that can cause injuries to guests and visitors in New York City apartment buildings for which a landlord may incur liability. Guest injuries commonly arise due to slip and falls and trip and falls. These accidents can be caused by a number of dangerous conditions, including inadequate lighting, ripped carpeting, broken floor tiles, defective mats, and misleveled elevators.

Critically, New York landlords have a duty to:

  • Maintain a reasonably safe condition in common areas
  • Repair any known defects in a timely manner
  • Provide adequate security
  • Ensure proper lighting
  • Adhere to building codes
  • Warn about any known hazards
  • Remove snow and ice within a certain amount of time

A landlord must ensure a safe condition for visitors in all common areas of a building or complex, including the lobby, stairwells, elevators, hallways, as well as in the parking lot and outside walkways. Failure to do so can constitute negligence. However, for a landlord to be held legally liable for a guest’s injuries, they must have had prior notice of the dangerous condition and failed to repair it or provide a warning.

A landlord may also be held accountable for a visitor’s injuries if they should have known about the hazard through reasonable inspection. In most instances, a landlord won’t be responsible for injuries sustained by a tenant’s guest in the individual apartment unit, except in limited circumstances. In addition to the landlord, other parties that could potentially be held liable for a guest’s injuries include the building owner and property management company.   

Proving Liability and Obtaining Compensation in a Premises Liability Lawsuit

For a guest to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit for apartment building injuries under the theory of premises liability, two elements must be proven: liability and damages. A variety of evidence can be used to help establish liability in an apartment building accident, including photos of the defect, video surveillance footage, testimony from eyewitnesses or maintenance staff, repair logs, and correspondence with the landlord or property management company documenting the defective condition. 

Once liability has been demonstrated, the victim must establish their damages. Depending upon how an apartment building accident happened, various types of injuries could be sustained and a substantial amount of medical bills could be incurred. For instance, in an apartment building slip and fall or trip and fall accident, a victim can suffer from nerve damage, broken bones, fractures, paralysis, soft tissue injuries, and even permanent disability. 

Medical documentation is crucial in these cases. Without it, a victim will not have a viable claim, regardless of how badly they have been hurt.

Recoverable damages in a personal injury lawsuit for apartment building accident injuries can include economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are meant to cover unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages due to the accident. Non-economic damages may be awarded for the pain and suffering a victim experienced as a result of their injuries.  

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you were a guest at an apartment complex who was hurt due to the landlord’s negligence, you might be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. The personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have more than 30 years of experience helping accident victims obtain the maximum compensation they deserve in their premises liability cases.   

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.