Is it my fault if my hand was injured due to window falling out?

by Jill
(Dalton, GA)

I went to open a bedroom window in my apartment and it fell out and hit my wrist. The window is very heavy and from the 1960's when they were built. I was injured and have to see a doctor to care for my wounds.

The owner told me he was not responsible for my injuries and would not pay any doctors bills. He said any injury in the apartment is my fault. Is this true? A defective window is not my fault. Who is responsible for my medical bills? Is there any law about this I can show my landlord, or would it be in the contract? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Is it my fault if my hand was injured due to window falling out?":

Jill (Dalton, GA):

You're dealing with a legal issue which is somewhat complicated. A landlord and/or owner of property has a "legal duty of care" to make sure he or she does everything within reason to make the premises safe for tenants. In your case, it appears the window was old and it failed to function properly, injuring you.

While a landlord and/or owner has this legal duty of care, they can't normally be held responsible (liable) for a tenant's injuries when they had no reason to know the window was defective. While landlords and/or owners have a duty to be reasonably proactive in making their premises safe, it would be unreasonable for them to have to check every apartment every day to be sure windows don't fall out.

Alternatively, if you had previously contacted the landlord and/or owner and told them the window wasn't working properly, then they might be liable for your injuries. However, even if they knew, he or she would have to have had a reasonable time to repair the window.

For example, if you called to report the window on Monday and were injured Tuesday, the landlord may not have had enough time to contact the maintenance department to effect the repair. This may be especially true if the maintenance people already had problems to repair before it was your turn.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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