The landlord of an apartment complex is responsible for making a reasonable effort to keep the entire premises safe for residents and their visitors. If someone is lawfully on the premises and suffers an injury, the landlord or property owner may be held financially responsible for the injured person’s medical expenses and lost wages. The property owner may also have to pay damages for the injured person’s pain and suffering and emotional distress resulting from the accident.
What types of incidents can result in injuries?
Many injuries that occur at apartment buildings are caused by slip-and-fall accidents. A slip-and-fall accident typically occurs because of a dangerous condition on the property that the landlord failed to address. These dangerous conditions may exist anywhere on the premises, including in the parking lot, on the sidewalks, in an apartment building, or in a common area. Some examples of dangerous conditions include:
- Broken staircases.
- Slippery floors.
- Uneven carpeting/flooring.
- Loose handrails.
Other incidents at apartment complexes may involve assault, burglary, or other criminal activity. Many of these incidents occur due to:
- Inadequate security personnel.
- Broken locks.
- Broken security camera/lack of surveillance.
- Broken/lack of controlled access gate.
- Poor lighting.
If the incident occurred within an apartment, the landlord may not be liable if the dangerous condition that caused the incident did not exist when the landlord first rented the apartment to the tenant. However, landlords are often at least partially liable for incidents that occur in common areas of the apartment building or complex.
How can I recover damages?
If you have been injured in a common area of an apartment complex, you may file a premises liability claim against the owner of the complex. To prove your case, you will need to show that you were lawfully on the property at the time of the incident and that the landlord did not take reasonable steps to fix or warn of the dangerous condition that caused the incident and your resulting injuries.
If you were partially responsible for your own injuries, you may still be able to recover damages under Massachusetts’ comparative negligence law if you are found to be less than 51 percent at fault for your accident.