Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident on the Stairway?
Slip and fall accident are very dangerous when it happens on stairs. If you have slipped and fallen down the stairway due to an underlying hazard in the area, then you can hold the property owner responsible for your accident. An accidental fall can happen in different properties like private properties, residential areas, commercial rental properties, leased properties, and public properties. Moreover, all these different properties have different owners like a government entity, a private owner, a corporation, or an association. All these different property owners can be held liable if a hazard in their premises causes a visitor to fall down the stairs and sustain injuries.
Understand who is liable.
However, for the property owner to be held responsible for your injuries after falling down the stairway, one of the following should be true. A property owner or someone who works for them caused dangerous conditions on the premises, such as spilling a liquid on the surface, leaving an item on the floor, or causing a worn or torn spot on the floor. They might have been aware of the hazard on the floor but did nothing to make it safe for the visitor. Or someone should have been aware of the hazard on the surface and either removed or repaired it.
Moreover, a court will assess whether you caused the accident yourself by acting carelessly or not. The court will use comparative negligence to determine your carelessness or reasonableness in going to the premises and in the manner, you did before the accident occurred.
Common causes of accidents in stairways.
Missing or broken handrails
Handrails help people maintain a good balance as they ascend or descend steep steps. The law requires most staircases to have handrails. A broken handrail can easily lead to an accident. They are meant to be taken care of as they can wither over time. If a staircase is not being maintained, then it is just an accident waiting to happen. Always be aware of your surrounding and check how safe the steps are. Try to avoid the risks as much as you can but it is not your fault if someone failed to do the upkeep.
Lack of lighting
Stairways can become very difficult to use in dimly lit areas. A staircase should have sufficient lighting to illuminate the tread, riser, handrail, and all the other parts of the staircase. This is for people who may have poor eyesight or can’t see well in the dark. If they are not properly lit it can lead to serious damage. It is not civilians’ responsibility to keep these in check when they are trying to walk around.
Slippery, wet, or icy floors
A slippery step is very dangerous because a person can easily lose their balance and slide down the whole staircase. Things that can make a step slippery include water, ice, wax, and floor polish. The property manager or employee should keep track of these spills or ice and act accordingly. If there is no wet floor sign, then most people assume it’s safe for them to walk in that area. Failure to do so can lead to some serious damage.
Some steps are unevenly built from the beginning while others start becoming uneven due to wear and tear. If a person is using the steps and they do not anticipate the unevenness, they may either under-step or overstep. This can cause someone to have a traumatic accident. These types of accidents can be avoided if someone is there to keep them maintained. If no one is doing so, they are liable to be sued in a court of law.
Some dangerous obstacles like boxes, debris, cords, and other material may end up on steps. Making it completely difficult for people to navigate the steps and may even cause people to trip. It’s best to look around your surroundings when you can before taking the stairs. Property managers need to be aware of what’s always going on in their buildings. Failure to do so means there are messes in places where it is unsafe. This can lead to serious damage for someone who is not paying attention.
If you have slipped and fallen on the stairs because of an underlying hazard, you can hold the property owner accountable for your injuries. Some of the different property owners that can be held liable for these incidents include a government entity, a private owner, a corporation, or an association. They have a job to do and that is to keep the building in good shape and people safe. If they are not able to do that it can lead to someone getting hurt. This gross negligence can be taken to a court of law by a skilled lawyer.