You likely took the safety of stairs for granted until you were injured in a broken stairs accident. Despite how common stairs are and the regulations and common construction practices dictating how they should be constructed, stairs are often built poorly and left to deteriorate. Property owners take the longevity of stairs for granted and fail to inspect them or make repairs when necessary, such as replacing carpet, fixing loose boards, or putting in a new staircase entirely. This negligence leads to defective stairs and stair fall claims.
Common Stair Defects
Though you rely on stairs every day at home, work, and while running errands, you can encounter hazards like:
- Uneven stair heights and widths
- Tilted steps
- Loose boards
- Loose or ripped carpet
- Overly steep stairs
- Poor lighting
- Lack of or loose hand rails
- Open stairwells without handrails or walls
- Slippery treads
All of these conditions can be difficult to detect when you are about to make a quick trip up or down a flight of stairs and have the potential to cause significant injury.
Defective and Broken Stairs Accident Injuries
Tripping up or slipping down one stair can be scary. If you are able to catch yourself, you may be able to walk away with only a small injury to your dignity. However, defective and broken stairs can also cause serious accidents and injuries.
By falling down numerous stairs, you could suffer:
- Skull fractures
- A concussion or more serious traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Muscle strains or sprains
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
Premises Liability: Responsibility for Defective and Broken Stairs Accidents
You may not have been able to see the defect that harmed you prior to taking the stairs. However, the property owner or manager who had regular access to the stairway may have been responsible for knowing of the condition and preventing your injuries. Under premises liability law, property owners are required to keep their premises reasonably safe for guests. Owners do not have to make the property perfectly safe for everyone or protect against open and obvious dangers. However, the property should be reasonably safe and without hidden defects for anyone who has the right to come onto and stay on the property, such as personal visitors and customers. This duty includes making consistent inspections of the property to find hidden defects that visitors are unlikely to see. Once an owner or tenant uncovers a concealed defective or broken stair, it is up to them to either put up a warning sign, close the stairwell until it could be repaired, and fix the condition as soon as possible.
If an owner or tenant fails to reasonably inspect their property or knows of a hazard and does nothing about it, then they may be responsible for any injuries caused by the hidden condition. This liability means you may be able to recover compensation from the property owner or manager through an insurance claim or premises liability lawsuit.
Recovering Compensation After a Defective Stairs Accident
After being hurt in a broken stairs accident, your first resource to potentially gain compensation from is the property owner’s or tenant’s insurance. If you were in a private residence, then you may want to file a third-party claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy. If you were injured in a friend’s apartment, you may file a claim against your friend’s renter’s insurance policy or against the building owner’s insurance. If you were at a private business, there may be a business insurance policy that covers bodily injury.
While you may be interested in quickly obtaining a settlement through insurance, this is not always possible. The individual or business responsible for the defective stair accident may not have an applicable insurance policy. Or if you suffered significant injuries in the accident, a policy limit may be lower than the compensation you need. You should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about filing a premises liability claim in court.
During a premises liability claim, you will need to prove:
- There was a dangerous defect on the stairs
- The owner or manager of the premises knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition
- The owner or manager of the premises did not correct the defect
- The defect a cause of your injuries
If you and your attorney can demonstrate in court that the property owner or manager did not uphold their duty toward you as a guest, then you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of society and companionship
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today
If you were injured in a defective or broken stairs accident, call us at Studinski Law, LLC right away. We are experienced in handling a wide range of premises liability cases, including those related to hidden defects on stairs. We understand how to investigate your situation and gather evidence on your behalf. We will then use this evidence to fight for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a time to discuss your situation.