Can I sue my landlord after I fell because of a bad step on the back deck?

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Can I sue my landlord after I fell because of a bad step on the back deck?

I rent a mobile home it has a wood deck at the back door. One morning I went out and the board was up, and it caused me to step wrong and I fall. I felt a pop in my lower back. I have a bulging disk. In my lease agreement it says that the landlord will not be responsible for any personal injuries. I did not tell him about the board problem, because I would hammer it back in place. The time I fell, I was not expecting the board to have raised back up. I now have missed time from work. I have lost my job position and have medical bills that are still growing larger. My short term disability has not started to pay yet.

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Personal Injury, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is very unlikely you could hold your landlord liable, for two reasons:

1) First and foremost, you write that "did not tell him about the board problem." Your landlord is not your insurer; your landlord is only responsible for injuries coming from maintenance problems IF the landlord is aware of them. You did not make your landlord aware.

2) Second, the lease you signed included a waiver of liability for the landlord. While this would not hold up against intentional or grossly negligent (think reckless or very, very careless) acts, it may insulate him from ordinary carelessness or negligence, which most maintenance or repair failures (even when the landlord is aware of the issue) typically are.


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