Each year, thousands of people slip, trip or fall down stairs. These types of accidents often result in debilitating injuries and disabilities. It is also a fact that a number of these falls from stairs occur because of some type of defective condition or negligent action that caused the slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall. When you are injured as a result of falling down stairs due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek and obtain compensation for your injuries, damages and other losses.
Common Causes of Stairway Accidents
There are three common types of stairway accidents. The most common type of accident we see is a trip and fall that occurs due to a surface defect. Such a “defect” might involve a broken or cracked surface, a tile that’s coming loose or carpeting that is uneven.
The second most common stairway falls we see are those involving faulty handrails. A staircase is required to have a handrail if it has a certain number of steps. However, not all property owners follow these regulations. Many stairways either don’t have a handrail or have an improperly fastened handrail. Such handrails don’t give those who go up or down the stairs adequate support.
Another common type of stairway accident is differences in riser height. When the height of the riser varies from level to level, this creates a problem. This is because people going up or down tend to assume that the next step is the same height as the one before. When that’s not the case, you are likely to trip or lose your balance.
One other common hidden stair danger is a slippery surface such as stairs made of tile or highly polished wood. Materials such as polished wood tend to be more slippery than stone, carpet or painted wood. It is important that property owners choose a safe material as opposed to just something that looks good.
Rain, snow and ice collecting on outdoor stairs also increases the risk of slip-and-fall accidents on stairways. Outdoor stairs must be built and maintained to avoid excessive buildup of water or ice and must have surfaces that don’t become even more slippery when wet. Outdoor stairs must also have some type of anti-slip surface for safety.
Injuries and Compensation
Falls down stairs have the potential to result in major injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, sprains and strains, joint injuries and internal injuries. While many do recover from fall-related injuries, there are also many others who suffer lifelong disabilities, which make it impossible to return to their jobs or injuries that leave them permanently injured and/or disabled.
Proving fault and liability in such slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents can be challenging to say the least. There are a number of properties including the property manager and property owner who can be held accountable for the injuries and damages caused.
An experienced Pennsylvania premises liability lawyer will be able to piece together crucial evidence, which will help prove negligence and assist you in securing maximum compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.