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EP03 S03: Slip and Fall Injury Claims: Can My Landlord Kick Me Out ? Can I Stop Paying Rent ?

EP03 S03: Slip and Fall Injury Claims: Can My Landlord Kick Me Out ? Can I Stop Paying Rent ?

Trial Stories Podcast

Trip and Fall Injury Claims: Retaliation. Slip and Fall Injury Claims: FAQs Can My Landlord Kick Me Out ? Can I Stop Paying Rent ?

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 Full Transcript:

Welcome to Trial Stories an informative discussion of civil justice with a focus on the human story. I’m your host. Arkady Frekhtman a New York City trial lawyer passionate about helping serious injury victims and their families.

Welcome to Trial Stories an informative discussion of civil justice with a focus on the human story. I’m your host. Arkady Frekhtman a New York City trial lawyer passionate about helping serious injury victims and their families.

Hi, everyone. My name is Arkady Frekhtman from the F&A Injury Law Firm, and I wanted to go through some of the very frequently asked questions with regard to apartment building accidents in New York City that our clients ask us. And I want to go through four specific questions, and they have to do with retaliation. Right? People have questions about their apartment, about their landlord. They want to know, “Can the landlord kick me out of my apartment if I’m going to be filing a lawsuit?And the answer is a resounding N-O. No, they can’t do that. That’s really, really wrong and bad and illegal. Right? Because you were injured because your ceiling collapsed. Right? You complained about a leak, the landlord didn’t do anything, the entire ceiling collapsed on your head. You had a serious injury. Perhaps you needed a neck surgery. The landlord can’t now say, “Hey, because you’re suing me, I’m going to kick you out of the apartment and make you homeless.” That’s just completely insane.

You’re not even suing. I mean, you’re suing the landlord, but the landlord has insurance. Right? The building has at least a million dollars in insurance, so you’re really dealing with the insurance company. The insurance company is the one who’s going to hire the defense lawyers that’s going to be defending the case. Those defense lawyers are going to report back to the adjuster on the risk. Right? How much the case is worth. And then that adjuster from the insurance company is going to report to their superiors, and they have meetings to discuss risk and how much each case is worth. And insurance companies, for the most part, are billion dollar enterprises, right? So they have a lot of money. So don’t worry about them.

And the insurance companies are going to do whatever they can do to save their money and to pay you as little as possible. They’re not going to play fair. They’re going to hire investigators to watch you. They’re going to do all these things. But they’re not going to kick you out of your apartment. Right? Because that’s between you and your landlord. You have a right to be there. It has nothing to do with insurance. Insurance is actually purchased specifically for that reason. Right? Why would the landlord even need to get insurance? The landlord needs to purchase insurance because if something happens, if an accident happens, he wants to be covered. The landlord doesn’t want to pay out of his or her own pocket, and that’s why they pay the premiums for insurance.

But unfortunately, when accidents do happen, even though they happen because of the landlord’s safety violations, which is negligence, the insurance company doesn’t want to pay a fair amount. And what they try to do is save their money and go through litigation and come up with these frivolous defenses to stall and delay. Unfortunately, that’s the reality. But they can’t kick you out of your apartment.

So, number two, “Can the landlord come after me?” I guess, it’s a similar type of question. They can’t really come after you. I mean, the worst thing they can do is try to videotape you, because if you’re claiming an injury and you’re not really injured, they could do what’s known as sub-rosa and they could follow you around and try to surreptitiously videotape you to then say, “Hey, this person says they’re injured, but they’re not really injured.” But if that’s really the case, then you shouldn’t really be making a claim to begin with. Be honest with yourself. If you’re truly injured, if you truly have symptoms, go ahead and file a claim. But don’t be one of these fakers or fraudsters. That’s not good.

So, then, the third question is, “Should I stop paying rent?” And usually, the answer is no. It’s not really a question for us. Right? For a personal injury lawyer. That’s really a question for a landlord/tenant attorney, so perhaps you should call a landlord/tenant attorney and you should ask them. Because if the reason why you want to stop paying rent is because you have an open landlord/tenant case, like in court or like a holdover proceeding or an eviction proceeding and there’s a reason, like your apartment is not habitable, if it’s truly not habitable, you can’t live there because of something just terrible in the apartment, like a broken window and it’s cold outside and there’s no heat, perhaps you could stop paying rent. Right? But you don’t stop paying rent just because something happened, like if you had a slip and fall in the lobby because there was a puddle, obviously you can’t stop paying rent. It doesn’t make the apartment uninhabitable. But it’s really a question for a landlord/tenant attorney. If you have proceedings going on, that’s a separate issue.

And then the fourth question is, “Should I let the landlord or the super into my apartment?” And that really also depends on what’s going on, but usually, like for example, if you had a ceiling collapse and then the landlord wants to come and inspect. It’s good for you and very important for you to take pictures first. Call your attorney, call us first, so we can come out there and take our own pictures, take our own measurements. You don’t want the landlord to go in there and fix everything and then you have no evidence, and then they’ll say nothing happened. Right? Because remember, the insurance companies are your adversaries. So, it’s better to get your own investigation first, but then afterwards, you could let them in if they truly are going to fix it, of course, you could let them in.

And sometimes that actually comes up because the landlords want access to fix something before an accident happens. So, if you complain about a ceiling collapse and then the landlord wants to come and fix it, but you’re not letting them in, then later, if the ceiling does collapse and you want to bring a lawsuit, you might have trouble because the defense will be, “Well, we knew they had a leak. We were knocking on their door. We came two, three times a week. We tried to get in there, but we couldn’t get access, so there’s nothing we could have done.” So, that actually will work against you. Right? So, that’s something that we see sometimes in premises cases.

So, I hope this has been helpful all about landlords, supers, and the whole retaliation, but for the most part, I think these are the answers that, and these are the issues, that do come up in these cases. So, give us a call, let us know if we can answer your question. We’d be happy to speak with you and give you an individual consultation. And have a great day. I hope this has been helpful. Have a great day. Let us know how we can help. Okay. Bye-bye.

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