Premises liability and landlord negligence matters often complex

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Premises liability and landlord negligence matters often complex

Residents across the U.S. and in large urban cities like New York City, were recently saddened and disturbed to learn of the deaths of six students who were killed when the balcony on which they stood collapsed. Seven other students who were also standing on the balcony at the time the accident occurred also suffered serious and debilitating injuries. This tragic accident has raised many questions and concerns about the safety of balcony structures as well as who is libel when such structures apparently fail.

In the case of the Berkeley balcony collapse, city officials report that the wooden structure appeared to have been severely weakened and damaged due to water damage and rot. Another recent balcony collapse occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in Neptune Beach in which eight people were injured when the wooden balcony on which they were gathered also collapsed.

These and other balcony or apartment-related accidents and injuries often result in the tenants or visitors who are injured incurring costs related to medical care, lost wages and disability. Accidents that occur in apartment complexes or on the grounds of such complexes also raise questions with regard to landlord negligence and who should pay for the often hefty costs that result from these accidents.

In the case of apartment accidents involving balcony collapses, it may seem obvious that a landlord should be held accountable for ensuring that such structures are sound, properly maintained and not at risk of failure. However, premises liability and landlord negligence matters involving these types of cases are often much more complex than one may believe. In reality, there are often several factors that affect whether a landlord or tenant may be deemed liable.

These factors include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Tenant’s responsibility to report defects to landlord
  • Landlord’s response to maintenance calls or complaints
  • How many people were on a balcony at the time of a collapse
  • Were apartment guests properly supervised
  • Construction defects

An attorney who handles premises liability matters can help tenants or apartment guests who have suffered injuries due to balcony collapses, broken stairs, poor lighting, inadequate security and other dangerous building or grounds conditions.

Source: The New York Times, “Prosecutor: Balcony Deaths Could Bring Manslaughter Charges,” AP, June 25, 2015

News4 Jax, “Landlord, tenants could face legal action after balcony collapse,” Tim Pulliam, July 5, 2015

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