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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Porch Collapses In Chicago Resulting In Lawsuit


While the City of Miami is still reeling from the condominium collapse that occurred two months ago, it’s worth noting that building lawsuits are not as sensational as a massive condominium pancaking. In fact, issues like these occur between landlords and tenants all the time. When the landlord provides the tenant with a dangerous place to live and the tenant is injured, the tenant can (usually) file a lawsuit against the landlord.

This is the case in Chicago where a porch collapse resulted in injury to six tenants. According to the tenants, the landlord knew about the structural issues and had done nothing about it. What the landlord knew and when is important to the plaintiff’s case, as we will discuss below.

Premises liability and elements of negligence 

A different lawsuit alleged that a child fell from a porch. The girl was leaning on the railing when it gave way and she fell to the ground. The parents sued the landlord under a theory of premises liability, but the landlord won the case on the basis that the landlord didn’t know that there was a problem with the railing and that the tenants had never filed a complaint. The landlord said the railing would have been fixed immediately had he known. Since the landlord didn’t have forewarning of the dangerous condition, the plaintiffs were unable to hold the landlord liable under the premises liability statute.

Florida’s premises liability statute is quite clear. A landlord or property owner must have foreknowledge of a dangerous condition and then fail to act. In the case of the collapsing porch, the tenants claim that the landlord knew about the issue and did nothing to address it. There, you have a clear allegation of negligence under the Florida statute that would permit such a lawsuit to move forward.

What if the landlord doesn’t know? 

What if a landlord tries to insulate himself from all liability by being completely ignorant of the conditions of their rental properties? In that case, the law provides an out for the plaintiff. The plaintiff can allege that the landlord did not meet their responsibilities to their tenants. Had the landlord performed routine inspections of the property as required by law, they would have noted that there were severe problems with the porch. Having failed to render the basic standard of care that a landlord provides a tenant, ignorance of the condition would not be a defense in court. It’s further a problem because such damage takes years of cumulative neglect to occur.

The difference between the case of the girl who fell because of a defective railing and six individuals who were injured after a porch collapse is clear under the law. Railings can have problems caused by immediate stress while it takes years for the wood and abutments to rot.

Talk to a Tampa Landlord Liability Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence or misconduct of your landlord, the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm can file a lawsuit on your behalf and recover damages related to your missed work, injuries, and pain and suffering. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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