Personal Injury Lawyer
Were you renting a house, apartment, or condominium in Pennsylvania and became poisoned by carbon monoxide exposure? Did you suffer injuries and financial losses? In some instances, you can file a carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit against a landlord, or other entity, after being poisoned by CO gas. Whether or not the landlord is responsible will depend on the statutes and legislation of the state in which the incident occured in.
A General Overview of Laws Related to Landlords and Tenant
Up until the mid-1900s, landlords were not held responsible for anything that occured on their property after it was rented. The exception to this was when they signed a written document that stated they agreed to maintain certain parts of the property, or in other words be responsible. Now, this position landlords held is not as extreme; however, the degree in which it has changed largely varies by state.
In general, landlords are responsible for yards, parking lots, common grounds, and other areas of the property which they have control over. The tenant has control over their rented property. If a landlord has agreed or made a promise to maintain or repair a device or appliance, it is their responsibility to do so in a timely manner.
When a Landlord’s Liability for Exposure to Carbon Monoxide is Clear
Let’s say a landlord failed to make repairs or appropriate maintenance to a water heater, furnace, or device within the landlords’ area that he or she has control over. If one of these devices, in that area, malfunctions and causes the tenants to be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning, the landlord will likely be held liable.
Likewise, if the landlord did repair a device or appliance either in their area of control or in the tenant’s controlled area, but did so in a wrong or obviously negligent manner, they could be liable for a carbon monoxide leak.
Finally, if landlord fails to inspect, maintain, or repair any devices or appliances, as may be required by a local ordinance or other regulation, and carbon monoxide poisoning occurs, they may be liable.
When Liability is in a Grey Area
Liability may be lay in a grey area when a device or appliance malfunctions on the property of the tenant, and the device or appliance only became defective after the tenancy begun.
In general, if no regulations were broken, and the tenant was unaware of the of the malfunction or did tell the landlord about it, the landlord will likely not be held responsible. For instance, say the landlord inspected a furnace, that was to be part of the tenant’s property, and prior to renting the property out found the furnace to be properly functioned. Once the tenant moved in, they damaged the furnace, but did not tell the landlord. If the furnace was found to be the source of the poisonous gas, the landlord may not be held responsible. Furthermore, if the furnace was not damaged by the tenant, but was defective by design, a lawyer may pursue the manufacturer for damages rather than the landlord.
If Negligence was a Factor, You May Have Grounds For a Lawsuit
If you’re unsure about whether or not negligence caused you or a loved one to be exposed to carbon monoxide, the best decision you could make is to consult a personal injury lawyer College Park, MD offers right away.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, PC for their insight into personal injury claims and carbon monoxide poisoning.