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Can I Sue After Falling Down the Stairs?

Falls account for nearly one-third of all non-fatal injuries in the U.S., with more than one million people falling down or around stairs. When those falls are due to the negligence of another party, such as a property owner or a manager failing to keep them free of hazards, the victim can sue to recover compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An individual might also have a claim against other parties for defective construction or installation.

Individuals who suffer injuries from falling down stairs in Southern California should consult with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Salamati Law to assess their right and opportunity to recover damages from the negligent parties. We can investigate the specific facts and details of the fall to determine whether you can sue a property owner or a third party. We are committed to negotiating your case aggressively, strategically, and creatively. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Potentially Liable Parties After a Stairwell Slip and Fall Accident

A woman with papers injured at the bottom of the stairs after slipping and falling in an office building

The California Building Code explicitly states that stairways shall be maintained clear and in good repair. In the event of a stairway slip and fall accident, multiple parties could be found liable, including the following:

  1. Owners, Landlords or Property Managers. They may be held responsible if they fail to address hazards in a reasonable amount of time, such as broken railings, poor lighting, or ice and snow. They could be liable if they do not fix known hazards or warn tenants or visitors of potential dangers such as weak or broken steps or frayed carpeting.
  2. Government Entities. If a government entity was responsible for the stairs, such as in a public park or government building, they could be held accountable if their negligence contributed to the accident. However, these cases are often more complex and follow specific legal procedures.
  3. Maintenance Companies. In some cases, the owner or manager of a property may have hired a maintenance company to take care of the premises. If that company failed to maintain the stairs properly and it resulted in an accident, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Common Causes of Stairway Slip and Fall Accidents

Cracked and broken cement steps

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls causes a severe injury such as broken bones or a head injury. Each year, three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.

The most common causes include the following:

Stairway blockage:  Loose objects, debris, or clutter on the stairs can cause someone to trip and fall.
Lack of handrails: Handrails are crucial for stability while using stairs. A fall can occur if handrails are missing, loose, or not correctly installed.
Poor maintenance: Lack of maintenance or repairs, e.g., the wood has buckled or is rotting, can lead to unsafe conditions on the stairs, increasing the risk of an accident.
Poor construction: Defects in the design or construction of stairs, such as steps that are too steep or too narrow, can make them hazardous.
Weather conditions: Rain, snow, or ice can make stairs slippery and increase the likelihood of a fall.
Inadequate lighting: Poor lighting can make it difficult to see potential hazards on stairs, increasing the risk of an accident.

The CDC also reports that about 37% of those who fell said their injury required medical treatment. These costs can escalate quickly, especially if the victim cannot work for an extended period of time.

Proving Fault in a Stairway Slip and Fall Accident

Building code violations can prove a landlord’s failure to maintain a property. However, non-compliant staircases in some older Southern California buildings might be exempt from code requirements. A personal injury lawyer representing an accident victim will typically look at a building’s age and whether any stairs in the structure were built and installed within the code specifications that were in effect at the time of construction.

However, an injured party must show more than a violation of building codes and safety obligations to prevail in a lawsuit. Specifically, the accident victim must demonstrate that a blockage or the owner’s poor staircase maintenance was the direct and proximate reason for their fall. Additionally, they must prove that the accident caused substantive economic losses and injuries.

An accident victim will often sue the property owner to recover their damages. However, experienced lawyers get an engineering analysis to determine if the claim can be extended to include manufacturers or contractors. Claims for negligent construction can help an accident victim recover the maximum possible damages in a lawsuit.

How Falls Affect People’s Lives

A study published in February 2022  found that the number of steps the person falls can affect injury patterns and severity. The higher the number, the longer the ICU stays tend to last. The mean length of the stay was about nine days. Of the treated patients, 12.7 percent needed neurological rehabilitation. As noted, falling down a flight of stairs due to the negligence of another party often incurs serious injuries that threaten the victim’s financial stability and well-being.

They may be unable to work for months, care for their children or other dependents, take part in everyday activities such as shopping and cooking, or require modification to their homes. There is often tremendous fallout for accident victims as they must not only confront the pain and suffering from an accident but also take on the economic challenges as well. An experienced attorney can connect patients with the medical services they need while working hard to get the compensation their cases deserve.

How Our Team at Salamati Law Can Help

If you have been seriously injured after falling down a flight of stairs in Southern California, call us for a free consultation with a Los Angeles slip and fall attorney. We have represented California accident victims for over twenty years, and will fight tirelessly to recover the largest amount of damages that are available to compensate you for your losses. Call today to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.

No Obligation, No Fees Guaranteed, Unless We Win

We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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