Personal Injuries and Stair Accidents happen every year, thousands of people are injured when they fall down wet and/or slippery stairways. When this happens, who is generally to blame, i.e. who is responsible? Generally, anyone who owns and/or manages the property would be responsible for the personal injuries suffered.
How is liability proven? Cases such as these are generally treated the same way that slip and fall cases are treated. To prove liability, the injured party generally must prove one of these scenarios:
1. The injured party must prove that the owner, an employee or a subcontractor caused the spill or left stairs wet and/or covered with a slippery substance (such as soapy water or cleaning solution) without warning residents or visitors to the property;
2. The injured party must prove that the owner, an employee or a subcontractor knew that the stairs posed a danger but did nothing about it; or
3. The injured party must prove that the dangerous condition on the stairs (e.g. wet stairs, spill on the stairs, broken stairs) existed long enough that a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered, removed or repaired it.
What other issues may effect liability?
- Was there “adequate” lighting on the staircase?
- Was there a handrail?
- If there was a handrail, was it properly built? Was the handrail loose?
- Did the stairs conform with building codes and regulations?
- Were the stairs worn out?
- Was the material used in building the stairs more prone to becoming slippery?
- Did over-spray from sprinklers play a role in the incident?
- Did weather play a role in the incident?
- Was the injured party inattentive or careless?
- Was the injured party aware of the danger on the stairs and still elected to use them?
- Is a coefficient of friction test needed?
- Is a construction expert necessary?
- Is a building management expert necessary.
Once liability is proven, then the issue turns to injuries and damages. Needless to say, injuries from such a fall could be serious and the injured party would need adequate medical care.
These are just some of the reasons why it is very important to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, especially because evidence can “disappear” – stairs or handrails can be replaced, cleaning records purged and witnesses can move away. So, if you are injured on a stairway, do not delay.
This article is brought to you by Attorney Mason Rashtian of The Mason Law Firm. If you have been injured as a result of falling down a staircase, and wish to speak with someone about your rights, please give us a call. We will provide you with an honest and complete assessment and educate you as to your options. Additionally, we may be able to refer you to a medical professional, who can examine you and provide you with an assessment.
Our Contact Info:
The Mason Law Firm
28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 202
Valencia, CA 91355