Are you or a loved one suffering from injuries after falling on dangerous stairs or steps? You probably have several concerns:

  • Who was responsible for keeping these stairs safe?
  • How will I afford my medical expenses?
  • Do I have grounds for a lawsuit?

Our experienced slip and fall lawyers are here to guide you during this difficult time.

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— Michael Monheit, Esq.

Each year, over one million Americans suffer an injury as a result of a slip or trip and fall accident. Between 20-30% of these victims suffer severe injuries. Falls which result from broken steps and staircases are especially hazardous. In fact, 15% of all accidental deaths are the result of fall-related accidents.

Property owners have an implicit duty to keep their properties safe and hazard-free for visitors. When this duty is neglected, dangerous circumstances may arise and eventually lead to a serious injury.

It is crucial for property owners to have regular inspections and repairs. Allowing broken or uneven steps and stairs to go unattended is extremely irresponsible and endangers all guests of that property.

Common Injuries

A slip or trip and fall on a staircase can result in some of the most serious injuries. Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Damaged ligaments
  • Neck and back pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

If you've experienced these or other injuries after a fall down stairs, you should consider meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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Dangerous Stair Conditions

There are a variety of dangers which can arise within a staircase. Property owners who lack a regular maintenance routine may be unaware of these circumstances until an accident has already happened. Common examples include:

Broken and Uneven Steps

Imagine walking up a staircase which you think is in working order, only to suddenly slip or trip on a broken step. In this situation, it may be difficult to react quickly enough to avoid a fall and subsequent serious injury.

Uneven steps are also dangerous since it may be difficult to judge your landing. Such a misjudgment could easily lead to a dangerous fall.

Cluttered Stairsold broken staircase

Cluttered stairs are extremely hazardous. Obstructions and debris force visitors to avoid them, which creates an unnatural movement path. This increases the likelihood of a trip and fall down the stairs.

Poor Lighting

Adequate lighting is a key aspect of building safety. If you're using a staircase in the dark, it's almost impossible to judge your landing place. It's also much easier to trip over a step or completely miss a broken step under insufficient lighting.

Faulty or Nonexistent Handrail

We use handrails to maintain our balance while climbing or descending a staircase. A loose handrail is extremely dangerous, and can easily offset a visitor's balance and cause a fall. Stairs equipped with no handrail at all are equally dangerous.

If a property owner neglects to address any of the above issues, he or she is endangering anyone who uses their staircase. When an accident occurs and injuries result, such a property owner may face a lawsuit and be held liable for damages.

Slick and Icy Steps

Property owners are obligated to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, walking paths, and staircases in the outside areas of their properties. Slippery staircases are one of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents.

Who Is At-Fault?

Like other slip and fall cases, one of three criteria must apply in order to find a property owner at-fault:

  • The property owner caused the dangerous condition which eventually lead to a fall injury.
  • He or she was notified of the condition but chose not to address it in a timely manner.
  • He or she should have known of the condition, according to the "reasonable care" clause. Meaning that a reasonable person would have known about the condition if he or she had properly maintained the property.

Even when the owner is determined to be negligent, the court will also evaluate your own role in the incident. Would a reasonable person have been capable of avoiding the accident? For instance, did you trip and fall while you were playing a game on your smartphone? A specific percentage of blame will be assigned to you in these instances.

Any judgment awarded will be adjusted based on this number. For instance, if you were found 10% responsible and a $50,000 verdict was awarded, that final number would be reduced to $40,000.

A good personal injury lawyer will evaluate the building and compare the condition to local building codes. If a breach of building codes contributed to the conditions which caused your fall, you'll have a very good case in civil court.

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