Faulty Stairs or Steps: Understanding Premises Liability Law
By Michael Verna on April 09, 2019
Stairs pose a number of unique hazards that cause people to trip, slip, and fall. Falls due to faulty stairs or steps can result in serious and lasting injuries including broken bones, back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis.
When these injuries happen, a property owner can be held responsible under premises liability law. Proving fault in a premises liability case can be difficult, so it is important to seek the legal assistance of a premises liability lawyer. The attorneys at Bowles & Verna help injury victims in the San Francisco, CA area secure compensation in these cases.
Stairway Injury Statistics
According to a study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than one million Americans suffer injuries on stairs each year. Of those injured, older adults, younger children, and women are most likely to make emergency room visits. However, people of all ages endure strains, sprains, bumps, fractures, and other injuries in these incidents.
Why do these injuries occur so frequently? The answer, in large part, is because many property owners do not take the proper precautions to keep their premises safe. As a result, the property owner may be held liable when a victim slips and falls.
Examples of Faulty Stairs or Steps
Stairs present many dangers, including:
- Slippery Surfaces: Many faulty stair injuries are the result of hidden dangers such as worn carpets and stairs. A worn carpet or highly polished wood surface can be slippery. Similarly, stone tile presents a naturally hazardous surface.
- No Handrail: Under California law, certain types of stairs must be equipped with handrails. If you fall on stairs that are legally required to have handrails, but do not, the owner of the property may be liable for your injury.
- Uneven Depth or Height: California laws require that stairs are built to a specific height and depth. Building codes require minimum and maximum vertical and horizontal measurements. If the stairs violate the code, the injury victim may have a strong premises liability case.
- Wet or Icy Stairs: Property owners are responsible for maintaining stairs that do not have excessive buildup of ice, snow, and water.
Holding a Property Owner Accountable for a Stairway Fall
One of our attorneys in the San Francisco area can provide evidence to show that the property owner was at fault. Demonstrating that the property owner was at fault for your injury requires proving at least one of the following is true:
- The property owner should have known about and repaired the hazard
- The property owner knew of the dangerous condition but took no action to fix it
- The property owner or employee caused the hazard
Our premises liability lawyers will investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine if the property owner was at fault for your injury. You could receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer
If you have fallen down the stairs and believe the property owner may be at fault for your injury, find out by contacting a premises liability lawyer at Bowles & Verna in the San Francisco Bay Area. Call (925) 935-3300 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.