Stairway Accidents: Common Culprit in Premises Liability Claims
Among the most common types of slip and fall accidents and premises liability claims are stairway accidents. Torn carpeting on stairs, slippery or wet substances on steps, even surfaces, lack of stair rails or rickety or rotten stair rails and supports are often cited among accident victims as causing their falls—and the sometimes significant injuries that result. Cluttered or blocked stairways that cause a tripping or fall hazard or stairs that lack a rail that’s up to code are also sometimes to blame. If you have been injured in a stairway accident, our Los Angeles premises liability attorney can help.
California and local code authorities set out strict requirements for stairs in both commercial and residential properties. Stairs must be up to code in terms of height and depth, and they must be accompanied by required rails. When stairs are built or installed contrary to code, they pose the threat of injury to those who use them. Likewise, property owners have a duty of care to keep stairs safe, which means replacing any worn carpeting, taking care of slippery surfaces right away and repairing any broken or rotten supports, steps or rails. Similarly, responsible property owners keep stairways free from debris and clutter so as not to create a fall hazard. When property owners are in violation of code regulations, statues or ordinances, they are generally found to be negligent per se and thus liable for injuries and losses that result from that negligence.
Stairways are inherently dangerous. One misstep or minor slip can lead to the injured party falling down many steps. When a staircase is unprotected by railing, then the person may be at even greater risk of catastrophic injury, since this can lead to falling from a great height. Some of the most common injuries seen in stairway accidents include injuries to the head, back, spine and neck. Broken or fractured bones, concussions, lacerations, abrasions and scrapes are also common.
Those injured in stairway accidents can recoup compensatory damages as a result. Most likely, these damages include any medical bills related to the accident, including ambulance and emergency room costs and the cost of any ongoing medical treatment required. The loss of wages and the loss of potential earnings while recuperating is also included in damages sought as part of the claim. If disfigurement, scarring or limb loss resulted from a slip and fall involving stairs, any award received will likely be enhanced. Pain and suffering, a non-economic loss, is generally also factored into any final settlement award.
In the event a loved one dies from stairway injuries, then the surviving spouse, children, parents, or other relatives can bring forth a wrongful death claim. This will provide damages for the financial and non-economic loss caused by the loved one’s early demise.
See our Los Angeles premises liability attorney as soon as possible following your accident. California sets a strict two-year limit on filing a claim following such a personal injury, so it’s important to get the ball rolling quickly to preserve your right to collect the damages due to you.