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Stairway Slip and Fall Results in Fair Verdict

Sometimes when you fall, you fall hard. That is certainly what happened to this gentleman, who tripped on a joint, protruding from a sidewalk at the top of a flight of stairs. The injured plaintiff, a copier repairman, fell the full length of the flight of stairs; he was not able to grab the railing on the way down because the staircase was too wide.

As a result of the fall, the man numerous herniated discs and required cervical fusion surgery. Restrictions placed by his physician, after this complex and serious surgery, prevented a return to his usual work of repairing copiers. He would need to take a desk job, instead.

He sued Temple University, the property owner, for the unsafe condition of the stairway. He also alleged that the width of the stairway required a different type of railing system to prevent injury. In addition to pain, suffering and medical expenses, his lawsuit sought roughly $800,000 in past and future lost wages. The fall had, essentially, ended his career.

The University refused to participate in serious settlement negotiations and the case went to trial. The University insisted that the stairs and railing were not unsafe. The jury disagreed and rendered a verdict of $1,462,769 for the injured copier repairman, and $225,000 for loss of consortium to his wife.

Most trip and fall or slip and fall cases have two things in common: They, almost universally, involve some comparative negligence (a percentage of fault to the plaintiff) and they, almost universally, are vigorously defended by a land owner who thinks he did little or nothing wrong. Often, as in this case, a jury verdict must prove it to him. Since it takes a long time for a highly contested case to go to trial, how does a seriously injured person, like a copier repairman who can no longer perform the vigorous requirements of his job, support himself while he awaits justice in the legal system? More and more injury victims are turning to lawsuit funding for the lawsuit financial assistance they need to survive the litigation.

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