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Las Vegas Landlord Obligations to Fix Unsafe Conditions

Las Vegas Apartment Landlord Obligations to Fix Unsafe Conditions
When a dangerous condition on a landlord’s property injures someone, questions invariably arise about the landlord’s obligations to keep the premises safe. Like other personal injury cases, a plaintiff suing a landlord will need to show that the landowner acted negligently, by failing to fulfill its duty of care toward the injured person. But where does a landlord’s obligation apply, and what are its limits?

A landlord’s duty of care

Nevada law requires landlords to exercise reasonable care not to subject others to an unreasonable risk of harm. Wright v. Schum, 105 Nev. 611, 614 (1989). Whether a landlord’s actions are reasonable depends on the circumstances. The likelihood of an injury and its probable seriousness are important factors in this analysis. Turpel v. Sayles, 101 Nev. 35, 38 (1985), quoting Sargent v. Ross, 308 A.2d 528, 534 (N.H. 1973). Under this rule, a landowner has an obligation to address dangerous conditions that it knows about. And it has an obligation not to create unsafe conditions, like locking a door that could foreseeably be used as a fire escape route.

Where tenant responsibility takes hold

A distinction should be drawn between areas of a property that are under the landowner’s exclusive control and those under tenant control. A landlord has exclusive responsibility for conditions that are present in a property’s common areas. This is true even if a tenant or visitor initially creates the condition—even if the landlord has a legal claim against the person who created the risk, the responsibility still rests with the landlord to fix it. Under the modern rule, a tenant’s possession of the premises is one of the circumstantial facts used to determine the reasonableness of a landlord’s behavior. Turpel, 101 Nev. at 38. A landlord that has no notice of a dangerous condition within a tenant’s apartment probably isn’t acting unreasonably if it doesn’t fix the problem, at least so long as the condition was a consequence of the tenant’s negligence. A landlord can assume responsibility for a dangerous condition like a vicious dog by asserting control over it, however badly. The Nevada Supreme Court dealt with this question in Wright. In that case, a tenant’s escaped pit bull injured the plaintiff, who sued both the tenant and his landlord. In Wright the dog escaped the property thanks to defective fencing on the property’s perimeter. The Court found that the landlord could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because the landlord had notice of the dog’s aggressiveness and had taken steps to address the problem by asking the tenant to keep the dog chained. Wright, 105 Nev. at 614-15.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

If you have been injured by a dangerous condition that was potentially due to a landlord’s negligence, it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at GGRM are broadly experienced in handling complex personal injury cases. For a free attorney consultation, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.

Nevada Homeowner Liability for Guest Injuries

Nevada homeowners have an obligation to keep their homes reasonably safe for guests. When a guest is seriously injured, the homeowner’s liability will usually come down to whether the homeowner took reasonable steps to prevent the injury. Although this standard sounds straightforward, in practice it can raise challenging legal questions, especially in the case of serious injury.

A homeowner’s duty of care toward guests

Homeowner premises liability is a question of negligence. This is true whether the injury is being evaluated for coverage under the homeowner’s insurance policy or litigated before a jury. The first step in a negligence analysis is to determine if the homeowner owed the injured guest a duty of care, and what that duty was. In Nevada, a homeowner owes guests a general duty of reasonable care. Whether a homeowner acted reasonably to protect a guest from harm depends on the circumstances. Cf. Moody v. Manny’s Auto Repair, 110 Nev. 320, 333 (1994). A homeowner who knows about a dangerous condition owes guests a special duty to warn them of the danger. This is especially true of hidden dangers, like a loose stair that can easily slip. Cf. Galloway v. McDonalds Restaurants, 102 Nev. 534, 537 (1986).

Breaching the homeowner’s duty of care

A homeowner may be liable for negligence if he or she has breached the duty of care. Generally speaking, leaving a dangerous condition unresolved can constitute a breach. The central question is whether the homeowner behaved reasonably. If the homeowner spilled water on a floor, creating a slippery condition, the homeowner has an obligation to make the condition safe. But circumstances matter. It might be reasonable for a homeowner to leave a puddle of water if her baby is crying in the next room and no one is expected to cross the wet floor for the few minutes it takes to comfort the child. On the other hand, a homeowner who doesn’t take steps to address a patch of ice on his front porch, like salting it or putting down an anti-slip mat, might not be acting reasonably if there’s good reason to think that a guest might step on the ice.

The breached duty of care must be the legal cause of the injury

For liability to stick, it isn’t enough that a homeowner hasn’t addressed a dangerous condition. The guest must show that the injury would not have occurred but for the homeowner’s negligence. This is a legal question that is often the focus of an attorney’s analysis of the facts. A negligent homeowner is responsible for the foreseeable injuries created by his or her negligence, provided there aren’t intervening causes. Cf. Taylor v. Silva, 96 Nev. 738, 741 (1980). To go back to our earlier example, a slip is a foreseeable result of a wet floor. But if the guest who slipped on the floor was drunk, the homeowner’s attorney might argue that the drunkenness was the real cause of the injury.

Always talk to an attorney after a serious injury

People who are injured while visiting friends or family are sometimes reluctant to explore their legal options for fear of offending the homeowner. But in cases of serious injury, leaving legal questions unaddressed can be a serious mistake. This is especially true when an insurer is involved. For over 45 years, the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped personal injury clients in Las Vegas get compensation. We know how to handle insurance adjusters and can work with you to get the coverage you need. For a no-cost attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476, or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Dog Bites in Nevada

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Dog Bites in Nevada
Being bitten by a dog is a scary experience that can have long-lasting consequences, in terms of both physical injury emotional distress. In many situations, the victim of a dog bite ends up with significant costs, and has to sue the person responsible for the dog. Because Nevada does not have clearly defined legal parameters around dog bite cases, it can be confusing for bite victims to come to grips with the law.

Dog bites and negligence

Nevada doesn’t have a statute that specifically addresses dog bites. Instead, lawsuits arising from dog bites in Nevada usually fall under the state’s negligence law. Negligence is a common cause of action in a wide range of civil tort lawsuits. A textbook negligence claim argues (1) that the defendant (that is, the person being sued) owed the injured person a reasonable duty of care, (2) that the defendant’s lack of care caused the person’s injury, and (3) that the injury caused the injured person’s claimed damages, such as medical expenses. Dog bite cases can hinge on the question of what duty of care the defendant owed to the injured person. In many cases, a defendant’s failure to comply with local laws requiring leashes, enclosures, or signage can be used to establish that the defendant had a duty of care (for example, to keep a dog leashed or contained) and didn’t follow through. In Las Vegas, dogs are required to be leashed unless they’re on the owner’s property or in certain designated places. Even if there isn’t a clearly applicable local ordinance, if a dog owner knows that his dog is aggressive and prone to biting people, there’s a good argument to be made that the owner has a duty to ensure that the dog is properly restrained where it can’t hurt anyone.

Comparative fault and dog bites

If an unrestrained dog comes running out of the blue and without provocation bites someone, the defendant’s negligence may be relatively easy to prove. But quite often, dogs bite people only after being provoked in some way. If the injured person contributed to his or her injury by doing something wrongful, the defendant might argue that the injured person bears some degree of responsibility. This is called comparative fault. In Nevada, the victim of a dog attack may not be able to recover for her injuries at all if the defendant shows that the victim was at least half at fault. Just like negligence itself, comparative fault depends on the specific facts of the case. The question to ask is: would the victim have been bitten if she hadn’t acted the way she did? Taunting a dog, ignoring warnings like growling and bared teeth, or disregarding a “Beware of Dog” sign could serve as facts supporting an argument for comparative fault.

Dog bite lawsuits must be filed within two years

To avoid losing the right to sue, it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a dog attack. Dog bite victims in Nevada have two years from the attack to file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit after this statute of limitations has expired almost always causes the court throw out the case.

GGRM gets dog bite victims their just compensation

Dog bite lawsuits are highly fact-specific, and getting adequately compensated for injuries can often come down to how well a legal case is framed and argued. At Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez we have helped numerous dog bite victims in Las Vegas recover compensation for their injuries. If you are trying to understand your legal options after a dog bite, our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. For a free consultation reach out to us today at 702-388-4476, or contact us through our website.