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Establishing Negligence Against Your Landlord in Michigan


In a previous article, we discussed the rights and obligations of a Landlord in Michigan. We had a specific scenario that could happen to anyone. 

This article aims to continue discussing that scenario.


My child was locked inside his room, it was the second floor of our rented house. We removed the main door’s lock for his room, but he got into our room while I was in the bathroom and somehow locked himself inside. I informed the landlord, who lives in the next place. We called the fire department, but while waiting, my child found a way to go to the terrace and eventually fell. 

He passed two weeks after being in the ICU for the fall. He fell on the fence before eventually hitting his head on the pavement. The wall was rusty and had nails coming out, which caused severe trauma to my child’s brain. We repeatedly asked the Landlord to fix that but did not act on it. We want to sue our landlord for wrongful death. What are our rights?

Holding Your Landlord Responsible

To hold a landlord accountable for the death of a child resulting from a locked door, several elements must typically be proven:

Duty of Care

It must be established that the landlord had a duty to ensure the security and safety of the rental property, including the functionality of the door lock.

Breach of Duty

The plaintiff (the parent) must demonstrate that the landlord breached their duty of care by failing to address the locked door despite being aware of the situation or having reasonable grounds to be aware of it.


There must be a direct link between the landlord’s negligence (failure to act on the locked door) and the child’s death. This requires showing that the end was a foreseeable consequence of the landlord’s inaction.


Finally, the plaintiff must provide evidence of the injuries, such as the tragic loss of the child’s life, emotional distress, and any associated financial costs.

Landlord Liability and Defenses

Michigan recognizes the legal concept of premises liability, which holds landlords accountable for injuries or fatalities resulting from hazardous conditions on the property. However, proving liability can be challenging, as landlords may employ various defenses, such as:

Lack of Knowledge

The landlord may argue that they were unaware of the locked door and cannot be held liable for its consequences. However, if the plaintiff can demonstrate that the landlord should have been aware of the situation, the defense may be weakened.

Tenant Responsibility

The landlord may shift the blame to the tenant, arguing that they were responsible for maintaining the functionality of the locks. Yet, even if the tenant contributed to the issue, the landlord’s duty to provide habitable premises remains.

Contributory Negligence

The landlord might assert that the parent’s negligence or failure to supervise the child contributed to the tragic incident. However, Michigan follows the modified comparative fault rule, meaning that even if the parent is partially responsible, they may still recover damages, albeit reduced in proportion to their level of fault.

Legal Recourse for the Grieving Parent

If a parent believes they have a valid case against their landlord, they may consider the following steps:

Document and Gather Evidence

Collect all relevant evidence, including photographs of the locked door, any communication with the landlord, witness statements, and medical reports.

Consult an Attorney

It is crucial to seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in premises liability cases. They can evaluate the claim’s viability and guide the parent through the legal process.

File a Lawsuit

If the attorney determines the case has merit, they will help the parent file a lawsuit against the landlord, outlining the negligence and seeking appropriate compensation for damages.

Settlement or Trial

Depending on the circumstances, the case may proceed to settlement negotiations, where the parties may agree on a financial settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the patient may proceed to trial, allowing a judge or jury to determine the outcome.

The tragic death of a child due to a landlord’s negligence in addressing a locked door is an incredible event that no parent should endure. While the legal process can be complex and emotionally challenging, Michigan law recognizes the duty of landlords to provide habitable premises.

If a parent can establish negligence, causation, and damages, they may be able to pursue legal action against the landlord to seek justice and financial compensation. It is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to navigate the legal landscape and maximize the chances of a favorable outcome in such heart-wrenching circumstances.

Haque Legal Has Your Back

Here at Haque Legal, we always have your back. Make sure that on your first free consultation, we tell you everything that you need to know about your case as well as the cost and the expenses that would be associated with the filing of your lawsuit. 

The consultation is free for the first time because we understand that you need at least that guidance from a reputable law firm and lawyer to assess your case. Suppose you have a personal injury case and need a lawyer to handle it. In that case, you can always contact our law firm, and we can talk about your situation and the best way to take it, especially regarding expenses.

Let Haque Legal Help You With Your Case

If you require a lawyer who can assist you with ensuring that you protect your rights, it is essential to know that you also have a team that can help you with your specific needs. 

Our law firm is dedicated to ensuring that the law will protect the innocent and that the full extent of justice will be used. 


The article you read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

Call us immediately if you need a lawyer to help you during your proceedings. If you have any problem with the law or seek justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.

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