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Q: I tripped and fell over an uneven sidewalk outside of my neighbor's home. I sustained a back injury which kept me out of work for two weeks. He is aware of my injury but says it is my fault because I was talking on my cell phone and not paying attention at the time I fell. Do I have any liability?
Your neighbor and all property owners have the responsibility to take reasonable steps to provide for the safety of visitors. However, the injured party must also show that he or she was exercising reasonable caution. If your neighbor can prove that you were being careless at the time of the accident, it may hinder your claim. To fully evaluate the situation and determine who is responsible and to what extent, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney.
Q: What should I do if I am injured on someone else's property?
If you are injured on someone else’s property, take note of the surroundings and the hazard which caused you to fall. If you have a camera or mobile phone with photo capturing ability, try to take photos of the hazard as this may serve as evidence of the condition of the property at the time of injury. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information or a written statement of the accident from their perspective. If you are in a business setting, the business will probably require that you submit an accident report at the time of the incident. Be sure to retain a copy of this report for your records. In the upcoming days and weeks, keep clear records of any medical treatment needed and document any missed work which occurred as a result of you injury. Most importantly, contact a personal injury attorney who can review your case and inform you of the best course of action to receive compensation for your suffering and lost wages.
Q: As a homeowner, what am I required to do to ensure that I am not liable for damages should someone slip and fall on my property?
As a property owner, it is your responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all visitors to your property. If there is a defective condition, you must warn individuals of the hazard and correct it in a timely manner. Regular maintenance will ensure that you are aware of any unsafe condition and are able to fix it to avoid injury to others. The extent of liability, if any, can vary depending on each situation, so it is best to consult a qualified personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the specific laws of your local jurisdiction.