If I am renting a home and have been exposed to natural gas due to a leak from the fireplace, do I have any legal action?

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If I am renting a home and have been exposed to natural gas due to a leak from the fireplace, do I have any legal action?

I have been sick for the last 4 months; my wife has suffered from repeat migraines headaches. The leak was fixed a week ago and I am still dealing with the effects. We have been in the house for 6 months and the gas guy that came to fix the problem says that from what he could tell the leak had been going on for sometime. We never used the fireplace. When we initially moved in we inquired as to how to use the fireplace but never received a response from the rental agent nor the home owners, so we just didn’t use it.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Personal Injury, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You and your wife could sue the landlord for your injuries based on premises liability which is a dangerous condition on the premises.  Prior to filing your lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the landlord's insurance carrier. 

You and your wife have separate personal injury claims to be filed with the landlord's insurance carrier.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injuy claim filed with the landlord's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the landlord's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit against the landlord.  If the case is NOT settled with the landlord's insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit against the landlord prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If your case and your wife's case are not settled with the landlord's insurance carrier, then both of you would be plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the landlord.  If both of your cases are settled with the landlord's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If one of your cases is settled, but not the other spouse's case, then only the spouse whose case has not been settled with the insurance company would be a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the landlord.


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