Can one sue a building owner if one falls downstairs?

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Can one sue a building owner if one falls downstairs?

If you suffered an injury due to broken or slippery stairs, you could sue a building owner or another responsible party, depending on the circumstances of the fall. However, you typically have to meet the following criteria to pursue compensation with a personal injury claim:

  • The fall must have occurred due to the negligence of another party, such as a building owner
  • The accident must have happened in recent years, as the time to bring a lawsuit is usually limited
  • You incurred injuries and damages, such as medical expenses, due to the fall

Proving liability for a staircase fall claim can be complicated. However, you do not have to take on a business or building owner alone. Morgan & Morgan has helped thousands of victims recover damages, such as healthcare expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. We could help you get justice and compensation too. Contact us today to determine your legal rights in a free case evaluation.

Injuries From Falls Down Stairs

According to the American Journal of Medicine, injuries from stair accidents are on the rise, with more than one million injured individuals annually requiring medical help due to falling down stairs. Common injuries in staircase falls include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord damage

Falling down stairs can have much more severe consequences than falling on a level surface, particularly for older adults and children. Severe and permanent injuries, such as complex fractures or brain damage, could result in astronomical medical expenses and loss of life quality for victims.

If you or a loved one is affected, seek legal advice as soon as possible, as you could be entitled to a settlement from the party responsible for the staircase accident.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Who Is Responsible for Your Staircase Fall?

    Property and business owners must ensure their properties are reasonably safe for tenants, visitors, and patrons. If a building owner fails to maintain elements of the property, such as a staircase, and someone comes to harm as a result, the victim could have a claim against the building owner.

    Dangerous Conditions Can Cause Accidents

    Hazardous conditions that could give grounds for a personal injury claim can include the following:

    • Inadequate lighting on the stairs
    • Slippery stairs from water, snow, or ice
    • Missing, uneven, or broken stairs
    • Clutter, such as boxes or cables
    • Missing or loose handrails
    • Bulging or frayed carpet
    • Poor stair design
    • Failure to conform to building code

    Potentially Responsible Parties

    You could have a compensation claim if you were hurt in a fall down stairs on public, commercial, or private property. However, who is liable for your injuries and financial damages will depend on the circumstances of your specific accident. For example, if you fell in the common area of a rental complex, your landlord could be responsible.
    If you suffered an injury falling down stairs in a store or a restaurant, the owner of the property could be responsible for your damages.

    In some cases, victims could have several defendants in their accident claims, including:

    • Business owners or operators
    • Landlords
    • Homeowners’ associations
    • Property management companies
    • Government entities
    • Manufacturers of defective stairs or handrails

    Determining who is liable for your injuries can be tricky and may involve working with professional investigators. Morgan & Morgan has the resources and expertise to understand and litigate even complex staircase accidents and pursue damages from the responsible parties.

  • Could You Qualify for Compensation After a Fall Down Stairs?

    You could be entitled to various damages if another party’s carelessness or recklessness causes your accident and injury.

    Medical Expenses

    If you prevail in your staircase fall claim, you could receive all medical expenses connected to your injury, including but not limited to:

    • Future medical treatments
    • Hospitalizations
    • Surgeries
    • Diagnostic tests
    • Medications
    • Physical therapy
    • Medical Devices such as a wheelchair
    • Modifications to your home and vehicle
    • A home health aide

    Loss of Wages

    Recovering from a severe injury could keep you from work for weeks or months. Victims suffering from permanent disabilities may never be able to resume their careers. If a building owner or another party is responsible, you could be entitled to reimbursement of past, present, and future expected income.

    Non-Economic Damages

    Depending on the severity and permanence of your staircase fall injury, you may qualify for a range of non-economic awards, such as:

    • Pain and anguish
    • Emotional suffering
    • Permanent disfigurement or disability
    • Loss of life enjoyment

    Wrongful Death Damages

    If your loved one passed away due to a fall down a flight of stairs, you could be entitled to damages with a wrongful death lawsuit. Close family members and dependents of the decedent could recover burial expenses and other damages, such as:

    • Loss of income and services from the deceased
    • Loss of companionship (spouse)
    • Loss of parental guidance (minor children)
    • Loss of inheritance

    Damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit can vary from state to state. If you think you have a claim, Morgan & Morgan’s compassionate lawyers can assess your case and identify your options for getting justice.

  • What About Falling Down Stairs at Work?

    If you got hurt due to slippery stairs or another hazardous staircase condition at work, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and other compensation.

    Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

    As a regular employee, you and your family could receive workers’ compensation if you get hurt at work. Benefits typically include:

    • The costs of all necessary medical treatment due to a work injury
    • Income replacement payments
    • Death benefits for the family of a worker who passed away after a staircase fall

    Your next best steps when injured at work include informing your employer immediately, seeking medical help, and filing a workers’ compensation claim.

    Filing a Personal Injury Claim

    Workers are usually prohibited from suing an employer if they receive workers’ compensation. However, an injured individual could have a legal claim if a third party is responsible for causing a hazardous condition, such as slippery stairs. Third parties could include:

    • Property owners
    • Contractors
    • Cleaning companies
    • Property management companies

    If you got hurt at work and are unsure about your next best steps, Morgan & Morgan has your back. Our experienced injury lawyers can assess your case and help you determine the best options for receiving the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and other expenses.

  • What to Do After Falling Down Stairs?

    The actions you take after getting hurt from falling down stairs can be critical for your claim and could help to maximize your recovery. Your best next steps include the following:

    • Getting medical help as soon as possible
    • Completing an accident report with the building owner or business operator
    • Taking pictures of the staircase, the reason for your fall, and your injuries
    • Gathering the contact details of witnesses
    • Contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights

    Getting the compensation you deserve can be tricky in a premises liability claim. However, an experienced attorney can protect your rights, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party. If the building owner or their insurance carrier refuses to settle, we can take them to court and fight tooth and nail for maximum compensation on your behalf.

  • Why Can Proving a Claim Be Challenging?

    Proving your staircase fall claim can be tricky. For example, if you fell due to slippery stairs, but a business displayed a “wet floor” sign, you could face an uphill battle. The at-fault party may argue that they took reasonable steps to reduce injury risks by placing a warning sign.

    Business and property owners will try to avoid being held accountable at all costs. Moreover, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, the person bringing the lawsuit. Victims must present relevant evidence proving the negligence of the responsible party.

    Evidence You May Require

    To prove your claim and pursue compensation from a building owner or another responsible party, you may require evidence such as:

    • Photos of the dangerous staircase
    • The accident report you filed with the building or business owner
    • Medical reports documenting your injuries from the fall
    • Witness statements
    • Expert witnesses to testify on your behalf

    Morgan & Morgan’s experienced personal injury lawyers can help you prove your claim and gather the necessary evidence.

  • Morgan & Morgan Fights for the Injured

    Having a determined personal injury lawyer in your corner can be essential for getting the compensation you deserve. Morgan & Morgan has helped countless injured individuals get justice and compensation, collecting more than $13 billion in damages over the years. We can handle your claim from beginning to end, allowing you to rest and heal. Our tenacious attorneys and legal team members can:

    • Investigate the scene of your staircase fall
    • Determine who is responsible and liable for your damages
    • File your lawsuit
    • Gather evidence proving your staircase fall case
    • Collect witness statements
    • Calculate your damages and determine the claim’s value
    • Fight for the maximum possible compensation
    • Work for you on a no-win-no-fee basis

    Morgan & Morgan never settles for less because we want our injured clients to receive the total value of their claims. If an insurer or at-fault party refuses adequate compensation, we will see them in court.

  • What Is a Staircase Product Liability Claim?

    Like other consumer products, staircases and handrails can be wrongly installed or defectively designed. Injured individuals could have a product liability claim if the stairs or railing present an unreasonable risk of injury due to:

    • Faulty design
    • Manufacturing mistakes
    • Flawed marketing

    Product liability claims fall under personal injury. Injured victims could hold the manufacturer, distributor, or seller responsible for the defects causing their injuries.

    Therefore, if the staircase that caused your injury was defectively designed or manufactured, causing injury risks, you could have a product liability claim. Defendants in your lawsuit can include:

    • The company that manufactured the stairs and handrail
    • A construction company installing the stairs
    • The designer or architect of the staircase
    • The distributor or retailer of the faulty stairs or handrail
  • Is My Employer Liable if I Fall Down Stairs at Work?

    As a regular employee, regardless of whether you or your employer is responsible for the accident, you are generally entitled to workers’ compensation. However, being covered by workers’ comp insurance means that you are usually barred from suing your employer unless:

    • They deliberately injured you
    • The injury occurred due to the employer’s gross negligence
    • They unfairly sabotaged or denied your workers’ compensation claim
    • Your employer is not covered by workers’ comp insurance

    Employees often worry that filing a workers’ compensation claim could result in getting fired or demoted. However, retaliation against employees is illegal and could give employees grounds for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against their employer.

    What About Independent Contractors?

    Independent contractors generally do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you could sue a client or employer for damages provided you can prove their fault for your accident. Moreover, if you believe your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor, you could be entitled to damages. Speaking to a seasoned attorney can help you clarify your rights and options.

  • You Can Count on Morgan & Morgan

    Falling down slippery stairs or stumbling over carelessly placed clutter can cause catastrophic injuries and change your life forever. However, you should not have to pay for someone else’s mistake. Morgan & Morgan helps people like you every day. We have the resources and motivation to take on even the biggest bullies in the country.

    Don’t fight alone. In the most difficult time of your life, we can be your shoulder to lean on and fight hard for what you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation now so we can assess your options for compensation.

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