Q: Who is responsible for injuries caused by a dangerous condition like a gas leak or house explosion?
The legal doctrine of premises liability provides that a homeowner or a person in possession of the premises, such as a tenant, is legally responsible to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for people who are on the property. Failure to do so will result in them being held liable for injuries that occur as a result of dangerous conditions they knew or should have known existed at the premises. While some premises liability cases can be straightforward, many are not as clear cut. In those cases, an investigation will ensue to determine, among other things, what dangerous condition caused the injury, who was responsible for the condition, who knew or should have known that the condition existed, and more. When a tenant is in possession of the premises, rather than the owner, the question of responsibility can be more complicated. Take the recent Bronx, New York house explosion that tragically killed one beloved NYC firefighter and injured 20 other fire fighters, police officers, and civilians. The house was rented to tenants who allegedly operated a marijuana growing operation on the premises. Apparently there was a foul odor, possibly a gas leak, reported shortly before the explosion. Many of the injured were hit by flying debris, including bricks, wood, roof shingles, and pot plants. It was not immediately known whether the explosion was due to a gas leak, the alleged pot operation, or another factor. The homeowner denied knowing the tenants or about any “weed operation" at the premises. An investigation by the NYPD arson and explosion squad followed. While not specified in the above case, fire and burn injuries are also common in cities like New York where multiple occupancy apartments and the negligence of a landlord or scores of tenants can impact the lives of other renters or visitors in the building. There are issues of properly working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire safety doors, numbers of clearly marked and accessible building exits, and more, to consider when determining who is at fault for fire and burn injuries. If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in any kind of accident that was the fault of someone else, you should seek the advice of a skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorney. Each case is different, but you may be entitled to monetary damages for medical bills, future medical bills and treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Of course, nothing will bring back a loved one, but getting the compensation you deserve will relieve the financial burden and help you begin to put the pieces of your life back together. The New York personal injury firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros will to work diligently for you. Someone is available 24/7 so call 212.227.2780 today to schedule your free initial consultation or contact us here.