Students who move into college dorms expect them to be safe and free from hazards, including fire hazards, slip and fall risks, and criminal activity. It is the college’s responsibility to properly repair and maintain the dorms as part of the school premises. Unfortunately, not all colleges maintain acceptable living conditions for their students. This can result in injuries from dangerous dorm rooms, as well as liability (financial responsibility) for the student injury being placed with the college or school.
What Are a University’s Responsibilities?
Housing laws apply to college campuses and dorm buildings. State and federal housing laws make a school legally responsible for maintaining habitable dorm rooms or housing units. This is known as the “warranty of habitability,” and it applies to all rental housing, whether it is an apartment with a landlord or a dorm room at a college.
This warranty makes it the school’s legal obligation to provide housing that is not infested by insects or rodents, has hot and cold water, has heat (if necessary), has proper locks on doors and windows, and is protected from the elements. If your dorm room is not habitable, report the problem to your university as soon as possible.
Missouri State University
Every college and university has its own dorm or housing contracts with information about who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the dorm room. The Missouri State University housing contract states that its employees and designated agents have the right to enter and inspect the dorm during reasonable hours and after giving notice, to maintain the building, make repairs and improvements, and take all actions necessary to prepare the premises for a new occupant.
This contract means that the university takes on the responsibility of repairing and making improvements to the dorm, as necessary, to keep it in a safe and habitable condition. However, it also places a responsibility on the student not to damage the property or use it in a way that could cause harm. It also states that by accepting the contract, the student agrees to release Missouri State for any liability for an injury or death connected to the student’s use of the dorm. There are exceptions, however, that can make the university liable for student injuries and accidents, in certain circumstances.
Mizzou – University of Missouri
Mizzou’s student housing contract is similar. It states that the college is responsible for maintaining the general safety of the dorm building, but it is the student’s responsibility to use the dorm – including all of its furniture and equipment – in the correct and responsible manner. If a student is injured from his or her incorrect use of the dorms, the University of Missouri might not be found liable. If, however, a repairable defect on the property was ignored by Mizzou and this caused the injury, the University could be liable.
What to Do After an Injury in a College Dorm?
If you get injured as a student who is living in a dorm building because of a premises hazard, such as a slip and fall accident or exposure to toxic mold, one of your first steps should be to contact a premises liability lawyer in Kansas City. A lawyer can carefully review your situation and help you collect evidence to support your claim, such as statements from eyewitnesses who saw your injury take place. Then, your lawyer can take care of legal paperwork to file a claim on your behalf.
With assistance from an attorney, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the full value of your medical bills and other losses from the school. A college or university may be liable for your injuries if it failed to keep your dorm room in a state of proper repair, or if it ignored your requests for repairs. Contact a lawyer from Dickerson Oxton, LLC today for a free consultation about your dorm room injury case.