Falls are some of the most common accidents and are also some of the most dangerous. When they happen from a height, such as on stairs, things become that much more serious.
Whenever property owners and managers fail to maintain their stairs in the reasonable condition necessary to support the safe passage of guests like you, they can be held liable for the dangerous accidents that ensue.
If a fall down stairs that was caused by a property owner’s negligence leaves you injured, an experienced North Carolina premises liability attorney can help.
The Elements of Staircase Accident Premises Liability Claims
To bring a successful premises liability claim involving falling down the stairs, all the following elements must be present:
- The property owner or manager owed you a duty of care in relation to the staircase, which is true as long as you were on the property legally, such as if you were a patron in a store, a medical facility, a restaurant, a movie theater, or any other kind of business.
- The property owner or manager failed to live up to the responsibility owed to you. This means failing to maintain the stairs at the same level of safety that other reasonable property owners maintain in similar situations.
- The property owner’s negligence was the direct cause of your fall down the stairs.
- You suffered losses that are addressed by the law, which can include medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.
If each of these applies, the answer to if you can sue for falling down stairs is yes.
Common Causes of Falls on Stairs
Staircase accidents can be caused by any number of risk factors, but some of the most common include the following:
- Inadequate lighting
- Lack of handrails or poorly attached handrails
- Tripping hazards, such as exposed cords
- An overly slippery surface, such as polished marble or an otherwise slick floor covering
- Stairs that collect moisture and debris from outside
- A tattered, torn, threadbare, ripped, bunched, or otherwise worn floor covering
- A poorly designed or constructed staircase, such as one that is overly steep
- Stairs that fail to meet all building codes, including those related to proper stair height and depth and those that ban uneven stair height and depth, which can prove exceptionally dangerous
Falls from stairs are so dangerous that property owners and managers are required to put considerable care into ensuring they are safe to use.
The Statistics of Staircase Falls
A long-term study reported by Reuters shares several statistics regarding falls from stairs, including:
- Every year, a million people in this country suffer an injury on stairs.
- Stairs are a common cause of injuries for people of all ages, and the rate of stair-related injuries are on the rise.
- The most common injuries suffered in stair accidents include broken bones, sprains and strains, and head injuries like concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
The study also indicates that providing a more horizontal surface for stepping increases safety – as does keeping horizontal and vertical surfaces uniform to help prevent missteps.
Additional risk factors noted in the report include:
- Missing nosing, which is the tread that overhangs the top step and helps to stop people from tripping
- Stair patterns that throw people off by creating an illusion in relation to the bottom stair
Identifying the cause of your fall down the stairs can be challenging and is best left in the capable hands of your focused premises liability attorney.
Starting Your Staircase Accident Claim
If you’ve suffered an injury in a staircase accident that was caused by a property owner or manager’s negligence, there are several steps you should take to help protect your health and your claim, including:
- Seek the medical attention that you need.
- Reach out to a formidable premises liability attorney as soon as you can.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
- Allow your attorney to communicate with the insurance company. You are not required to provide the insurance rep with a statement, and it’s generally to your advantage not to do so.
Your attorney will ably take on all of the following primary tasks in pursuit of the compensation to which you are entitled:
- Gathering the evidence necessary to demonstrate the property owner’s negligence in your staircase accident, which may include eyewitness testimony
- Compiling the available evidence in the creation of your strongest claim
- Hiring experts for testimony, such as regarding any code violations
- Skillfully negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement that fairly addresses your losses in their entirety
- Preparing to take your case to court if the insurance company is not willing to settle fairly
Consult With an Experienced North Carolina Premises Liability Attorney
If a property owner or manager’s negligence causes you to be injured in a staircase accident, the diligent premises liability attorneys at Horton & Mendez have the legal skill to help guide your claim toward a favorable resolution. We help residents and visitors of Wilmington and Leland, NC obtain their fullest recovery. Request a case consultation by calling us at 910-415-1088 or contacting us online for more information today.
Premises Liability Case FAQs
How do I prove the property owner’s negligence?
Proving negligence on the part of the property owner in relation to a staircase accident is a challenging endeavor that is best left to your practiced premises liability attorney.
How long do I have to file my staircase accident case?
In North Carolina, you generally have three years from the date of the injury-causing accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party – or their insurance provider.