A slip & fall outside your office

April 8, 2005

Because my landlord failed to fix a broken downspout near my practice's front door, a patient slipped and fell on an ice patch. Now the patient, who broke his leg, has threatened to sue me. But shouldn't it be the property owner who's liable?

Q: Because my landlord failed to fix a broken downspout near my practice's front door, a patient slipped and fell on an ice patch. Now the patient, who broke his leg, has threatened to sue me. But shouldn't it be the property owner who's liable?

A: He may be ultimately liable, depending on your lease agreement. If premises liability isn't covered in your contract with the landlord, determining responsibility for damages may come down to your state's law or a city ordinance. Many cities require commercial tenants to keep their walkways free of hazards.