Stairways carry a considerable element of risk, especially when they are not well maintained, and can lead to critical accidents. Falling on stairs is very common, and many people are injured by slipping on stairs every year.
Anyone can fall on any type of property, from private residences to shopping malls and hotels. If you have been injured in a fall accident on stairs, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the damages.
You may be able to recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, physical pain and suffering. To be able to recover compensation, it is essential to determine who is legally responsible for causing the accident.
Talking to an experienced Slip and fall Accident Attorney can be beneficial in such scenarios. In this article, we have talked about various aspects related to these accidents.
Common causes of slip and falls accidents on stairways
Before talking about who is liable, you should be familiar with the reasons behind these accidents. Here are common causes of accidents that occur on stairways.
- Weather conditions – Extreme weather conditions such as snow or ice that accumulate on outdoor stairs increase the risk of slipping. You should pay extra attention when using stairs in such conditions to prevent slipping and falling on icy surfaces. It is advised to wear the right kind of footwear in snow and ice to avoid these accidents.
- Poor lighting – Visibility is another factor that may lead to these accidents. Poor lighting may reduce the vision of those using the staircase. Property owners must ensure that stairways have proper lighting at all times. Commercial property owners who invite the general public should have an adequate backup power supply to improve visibility during times of power outages.
- Not following the building codes for stairs –Property owners need to follow the building codes and have a proper construction plan in place to prevent the risk of these accidents.
- Uneven stair height – The stair height of each step must be in accordance with building code. Building codes are in place to prevent accidents on stairways.
- Wear and tear – The staircase may get worn down over time, creating the risk of accidents. Those who are unfamiliar with the situation are often at a higher risk of experiencing injuries.
- Handrails – Many building codes require handrails for specific types of stairs. It is important to ensure that handrails are properly secured in the right location, with the right width and height.
- Slippery, uneven, and cluttered surfaces – Many accidents happen on a staircase because the surface is either wet, slippery, or covered in debris. Maintain stairways free from clutter and install proper signage if the surface is uneven, frequently wet, or under construction.
- Improper safety practices – The property owner should establish a safety policy and share it with everyone. They should maintain a clean and organized surface to prevent these potential risks.
Who is legally responsible for accidents that occur on stairways?
In most of these cases, the property owner holds legal responsibility for slips, trips, and falls on stairways. For instance, if a guest falls on the restaurant floor, where there was no warning signage, the restaurant owner will be considered to be at fault for this.
The property owners hold responsibility for accidents that occur on their properties that reasonable care and inspection could have avoided.
In many stair accidents, if someone falls because of poor lighting or construction, the fault may rest on the property owners if the property owner was aware, or should have been aware of the hazard, but failed to take appropriate actions to reduce the risk of injury to unsuspecting guests.
To avoid accidents on stairways, the property owner must take proper preventive measures, such as:
- Property owners must ensure that there are no uneven surfaces
- Wet floors must be cleaned as soon as possible or signage must be in place warning that the floor is wet
- The owner should examine the premises regularly to evaluate the risk of hazards
- If there are any potential risks, they must be repaired within reasonable time limits
- Property owners must guide staff members about the precautions that must be taken
How to prove fault in such accidents?
Stair dimensions and missing railings are some of the most frequent reasons behind the occurrence of these accidents. In most of these situations, the owner can be held liable for the injuries that lawful visitors face. The plaintiff can file a claim against the negligent property owner.
To prove fault for being injured on someone else’s property, the plaintiff may need proof that either of the following is true:
- The property owner or employee’s negligence created the dangerous condition
- The property owner or an employee was familiar with the dangerous condition but did nothing about it
Contact a reputable Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to proceed with the claim. When you have professionals by your side, many hassles can be avoided. They can help you file a claim with insurance companies, negotiate an appropriate settlement for your damages, and if the insurance company fails to compensate you fairly, pursue a legal action against the responsible parties.
Concentrate on your recovery while lawyers work on your behalf to recover compensation that you are owed.