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Man is Awarded a $1.1 Million Verdict For a Fall Down the Stairs

A California jury has awarded a $1.1 million verdict to a man who sued his landlord after a slip and fall.

Plaintiff fell down the stairs at his apartment on January 1, 2010, and later developed disk injury and symptoms of lumbar strain. A houseman for a wealthy San Francisco family, Plaintiff was forced to quit his job because of the pain. Torres sued the property owner alleging that he failed to keep the stairs clear of slippery algae, and did not install a handrail, as required by local code.

The owner or his insurance company let the case to trial. Bad choice. A jury awarded Torres $1,070,801 for economic losses, including $850,000 for future lost earnings.

Plaintiff’s slip and fall attorney said, “If the defendant had provided the minimum protection of a building code-required handrail, at a cost of less than $100 and an hour of time, this lawsuit would have never been necessary….” This really makes you step back and think. As a retired general contractor, Fleming could have installed the handrail himself. What made him think it was worth the risk NOT to install the handrail?

Plaintiff and his family had moved to the apartment in 2008 after losing his Novato home to foreclosure. Hopefully, with a million-dollar verdict, he’ll be able to find another home.

Maryland slip and fall cases are now getting a bit easier to get to a jury after a recent Maryland Court of Appeals opinion that softens Maryland’s still somewhat Draconian assumption of the risk law.