Can I File a Claim If I Have Fallen Down a Public Staircase

Trip, slip, and fall accidents are common. Injuries related to slip and fall account for more than a third of all the country accident-related cases reported each year. As is the case with all premise liabilities, property owners are responsible for any staircase accidents. However, stairs have a high potential for slips and falls, which could be obvious or invisible.

The general rule is that all property owners or managers have a duty of care for all users of the said property and any form of negligence, deliberate or otherwise, comes with a price. If you are a victim of a stair accident, you have the legal right to file a claim against the negligent parties. To help you ascertain who exactly is at fault and how you can file a claim to receive compensation, keep reading.

Determining Liability for Slip and Fall Accident

To establish that you were not the one responsible for your slip and fall while on someone’s premises, the property owner, manager, or employee must have been responsible for some negligent acts. These may include spilling and failing to clean up any spilled substances from the stairs.  Doing repairs such as new paintwork and garnish on the stairs and not putting up hazard signs to warn people is a violation of the rules of duty of care. 

Not doing timely repairs of defective handrails and worn-out surfaces despite being aware of it is another negligent act that implicates the property owner. It is important to note that despite the many glaring pieces of evidence that may implicate the property owner, the rules of comparative negligence still apply.

A civil court and the defendant’s insurance provider will have to go through the rules of comparative negligence to ascertain your role in the accident.  This will help measure the level of your carelessness in the how, when and where you were going and what happened before the accident occurred. 

In most stair accident cases involving spilled or dropped substances, the rule of comparative negligence will have to be brought forward to ascertain if the liable party took the necessary steps to warn people of the hazardous conditions of the stairs and if you ignored these warnings. However, there are some dangers found in stairs that may remain invisible even after an accident occurred. This calls for combined effort between you and your slip and fall accident attorney to dig deeper into the truth and prove liability.

Factors Contributing to Stair Accidents

Unsafe Materials Used to Makes Stairs

Contrary to popular belief, work carpets for stairs can be quite hazardous. While the danger is not easily noticeable, the injuries sustained from falling can be catastrophic. Tile stairs or stairs made of polished wood can be quite slippery than carpeted stairs or painted wood. If you slip and fall on such stairs, the property owner may be at fault for choosing beauty over safety.

Snow or Ice On Outdoor Stairs

Weather elements such as snow, ice, or rain accumulating on outdoor stairs are common catalysts of slip and fall accidents on outside stairs. Although people should exercise maximum caution during such weather conditions, the duty on personal safety does not rule out the question of the premise owner’s negligence.

Outdoor stairs should be properly built and maintained to mitigate the excessive build-up of ice, water, or snow and must have surfaces compatible with such conditions and don’t become too slippery when wet. If you slip on a stair with a lot of build-ups, the owner should be held accountable for your injuries. They are also liable for your damages if they fail to provide an anti-slip surface on their stairs. 

Violations of Building Codes

Every state and, by extension, every county has a building code that must be adhered to by all builders and premise owners. These codes indicate the requirements for stairs. Some areas where building codes typically regulate the construction of stairs include: 

Handrails: Some building codes require specific handrails for certain stair types. If you trip and fall on stairs that don’t have bars but needed to, and the lack of these handrails contributed to your accident, the property owner is highly liable for your injuries. 

Furthermore, most building codes require that one or more stair handrails have specific dimensions and should be properly installed. Grabbing a bar with the wrong height or width can make you fall even if the stairs themselves are in good condition.

Improper Stair Dimensions: A normal staircase comprises the vertical and horizontal parts which make up each step. They’re respectively called  the “riser” and the “run.” Building codes require accurate maximum and minimum measurement for the height of each riser and depth of each run. 

To ascertain if the riser and run of each stair align with the building codes, you should measure the risers and runs of stairs and compare the building code numbers. If either the riser or run doesn’t correspond with the regulations, then the stairs are defective, and you may have a strong ground to bring a claim against the owner. However, your proof of negligence doesn’t stop there. Once you have proved that the stair is defective, you are further required to show that the defect in the states contributed to your fall. 

But unless the building owner’s insurance company can prove beyond reasonable doubt that your fall was due to your carelessness, then the violation of the building code violation will be enough proof to achieve a successful claim and fair settlement.

Find Legal Help

Now you understand the many instances where a property owner may be liable for your stair accident. You’ve learned that you have the legal right to file a claim for a stair accident on public property if you can prove the owner’s negligence. You also know how liability can be determined when filing for such a claim. The next thing you need to know is how to file such an injury claim and win a favorable settlement with the assistance of experienced stairwell slip and fall injury attorneys at Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA. Since this is a process you may not achieve alone, it is very important to contact the attorneys there for more information on filing a slip and fall accident claim and all the legal support you may need.