What is a landlord’s liability for a tenant’s illness?

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What is a landlord’s liability for a tenant’s illness?

Last week my tenant told me she smelled an odor similar to gas in the duplex. I had the gas company come out and check it the following morning. They detected 0% gas in the atmosphere but she took herself to the ER anyway because she felt sick and said she tested negative for CO2 levels. Although the blood work showed that she was exposed to natural gas (I’m not sure from where). Now she wants me to pay for the ER visit as well as her day of missed work since they sent her home. Because the gas company tested the entire house and stated there was no gas leak, am I liable for her medical bill?

Asked on November 9, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

People are liable for injuries or damages they cause through their own wrongful or negligent actions. Also, there must be some causal link between the person's actions and the injury which soneone else hopes to hold them liable or accountable for (this is often called "proximate cause"). If you didn't do anything, or if anything you did, did not cause her loss, you would not be liable. In other words, if nothing in the home made her sick, you're not liable because she felt sick from some other cause or was a hypochondriac, etc. That said, if she disagrees--that is, if she thinks she was sickened by your home--she could in theory bring a lawsuit (if it's worth it for her) and force a court to decide whether she is right or wrong.


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