Fall at an Apartment Complex - What To Do
Apartment Owners and Property Managers Have a Duty
Under California law, apartment property owners and property management companies have a legal duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. This duty requires the owners and property managers to reasonably inspect the property for "unsafe conditions" and to take "reasonable precautions" to prevent injuries. When the owner or property manager fails to meet their obligation, and therefore breach their duty, they may be held liable for the consequences. Before the owner/manager can be held liable for the injuries and damages someone has suffered, it must be shown that they knew of the dangerous condition or should have known of its existence.
Examples of Unsafe Conditions
Sometimes tenant complaints are ignored, and unsafe conditions are allowed to exist on an apartment complex's property. Those conditions can include a pothole in a parking lot, an uneven sidewalk or dangerous stairs. Where the elevation change is meaningful on a walking surface (approximately 1 inch or above) the defect may be considered "unsafe" under the law. While other facotrs do come into play (such as lighting, color, location, etc.), potholes and rises on sidewalks of 1 inch or more are generally considered unsafe. As for stairs, the surface of the steps should be non-slip and the height of the risers should be even from one step to the next. A failure to comply with these building requirements may render stairs unsafe.
What If You Fall
If you are injured on an apartment complex's property, even your own, you may have a claim for compensation against the owner/manager. So, if you do fall you should immediately document the incident with photographs of the unsafe condition and of your injuries. If you feel you have been injured, you should likewise get to a doctor (urgent care, emergency room, primary care doctor, etc.) to document those injuries. Lastly, the incident should be reported to the owner/manager of the property.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you have been injured at an apartment complex because of someone else's neglect.