Who Should Pay for Tenant-Repairman’s Injury?

There was an article in the Chicago Tribune about a tenant who suffered injuries while doing some repairs to his apartment. The tenant was fixing a broken window when he cut himself and had to go to the emergency room for treatment. The bill of that treatment was several hundred dollars. Is the landlord liable for the tenant’s injuries or not?

It is quite common for landlords to let tenants take care of certain repairs themselves. Such an agreement must be entered into “in good faith” to prevent landlords from offloading repair responsibilities onto reluctant tenants. However, the law does not state what happens if the tenant is injured while doing the repair.

If you have renter’s insurance policy, don’t expect it to cover you. It applies only to loss of your property and your liability in case you injure others or damage other people’s property. But if you suffer an injury due to your own clumsiness, renter’s insurance won’t help you. The landlord has a policy too that protects him in case his carelessness causes injuries to others. However, in this case, the landlord had nothing to do with the broken window, was not responsible for fixing it, nor did he cause the injury, which means his policy probably would not step up in this kind of a case.

If the tenant had been the landlord’s employee, the landlord should have procured workers comp insurance for him. In any case, the tenant might be considered an “employee” of the landlord depending on the degree of control the landlord had over the way the tenant did the repairs. But if the tenant did the repairs on his own without interference from the landlord, it is unlikely that he would be classified as an employee, and the medical bills are the tenant’s to deal with.

Personal injury cases are often complex. In the case of an injury, it is best to obtain the assistance of a dedicated lawyer to determine whether you are entitled for compensation. Contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Chicago today.

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