Many people live in an apartment, condominium, or another unit where they are not the owner. Rather, they rent the property from a landlord and are considered to be the landlord’s tenant. In some cases, a landlord may fail to provide the maintenance and work that a property needs to remain safe and habitable. Many people assume that a failure to maintain a property is a slam dunk premises liability case. Unfortunately, the law in Arkansas is such that a tenant must prove certain factors before a recovery can be made.
Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law serves clients in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He can assess personal injury situations including injuries caused by the neglect of a landlord. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our firm at (479) 316-0438 today.
What Must Be Proven For a Landlord to Be Liable for my Injuries?
When an injury victim alleges that the actions or inactions of a landlord have resulted in a serious injury or death to another person, there are a number of legal requirements that must be satisfied before liability can be imposed. The elements an injury victim must prove to impose landlord liability are:
- An injury or damages were, in fact, sustained by the claimant.
- The landlord agreed to maintain or repair the property and the agreement was supported by consideration.
- The landlord failed to undertake or otherwise reasonably satisfy the duty to repair.
- The failure to perform this duty is the cause of the individual’s injuries.
While these requirements are not altogether different from a traditional negligence claim, there are certain unique aspects and factors in play.
Your Ability To Recover Turns on Whether a “Duty” Exists
Generally, when a person claims that a property was in disrepair due to landlord negligence, there are a number of possible scenarios that can create a duty. The first scenario where liability may exist involves a scenario where the landlord invites a person to come onto their premises. A duty may arise under the common law when the person on the premises is considered a licensee or an invitee. In general, invitees are entitled to a more expansive duty and protections.
The second scenario through which a duty can be imposed on the landlord involves a scenario where he or she has contractually agreed to perform maintenance. It is true that in Bartley v. Sweetser, 319 Ark. 117, 890 S.W.2d 250 (1994), the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld longstanding precedent in which landlords are not ordinarily liable for injuries occurring in common areas. However, in Majewski v. Cantrell, 293 Ark. 360, 362, 737 S.W.2d 649, 651 (1987) the court found that a landlord could be held liable when all of the following is true and other negligence requirements are met:
- There is an agreement for the landlord to provide maintenance.
- The state of disrepair creates an unreasonable risk that would be remedied with maintenance.
- The landlord does not exercise reasonable care
The third and final scenario where a landlord can be held liable for injuries caused by disrepair involves when he or she voluntarily assumes the duty. Therefore even in scenarios where no duty would otherwise exist, a landlord’s voluntary action can create a duty and thus potential liability.
Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyer Handling Landlord Disrepair Injury Cases
If your landlord or building manager has left certain parts of the building in dangerous disrepair, it may be possible to recover damages. Your damages could include your medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you experienced. However, one must be able to prove all of the elements listed above to have a viable negligence claim. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can improve the likelihood that you are able to gather the evidence and state your legal claim sufficiently. To speak to an Arkansas personal injury attorney, call Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 today.