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Slip-and-fall accidents not limited to icy sidewalks

Many Silver Spring residents choose, for one reason or another, to live in an apartment or other unit in a rental complex. Young people just starting out may need time to save up for a home, while some older residents may prefer to have a landlord to take care of yard and building maintenance and handyman chores around the home. However, it is important that renters not allow themselves to feel intimidated into silence when hazardous conditions on the premises lead to an accident and injury, because they have the right to pursue a premises liability claim in many situations.

Recently, a resident of a new "over-50 community" in California wrote about an incident that could in fact have happened right here in Maryland. The 65-year-old woman was carrying trash down the hallway to the stairs. The stairs were carpeted the same color as the hallway leading up to them, making it difficult to notice the first step. She missed it and started to fall; when she grabbed for the railing, she found only a narrow, painted board nailed to the wall.

Her subsequent fall down the entire flight of stairs caused her to suffer from a neck injury which will require surgery. The response from building management? She should have opened her eyes and watched where she was going.

Unfortunately, Silver Spring residents may also likely run up against such a response when confronting a negligent property owner. But just because someone had an accident does not mean they cannot pursue a claim for compensation if a property owner was negligent. Slip-and-fall accidents can occur on an apartment building stairway just as easily as on a wet grocery store floor or an icy parking lot or sidewalk. As long as liability can be proven, the property owner can be held responsible for paying an accident victim's medical bills and related costs.

Proving liability is therefore a paramount concern in a premises liability case. A legal professional can help injured parties document what happened and carry out an investigation that will support their claim for compensation in court.

Source: The San Francisco Examiner, "Landlord might have liability in resident stair fall," Christopher B. Dolan, March 20, 2013

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