By one measure, more than one million people suffer injuries in the United States every year from falling on or around staircases. When those falls are the result of a property owner’s failure to keep them clean and free of hazards, the victim can sue the owner to recover compensation for their injuries. 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 from our firm to assess their right and opportunity to recover damages from the negligent parties. We can assess the specific facts and details of the fall to determine whether you can sue a property owner or another third party.

The Property Owner’s Duty to Provide Safe and Hazard-Free Staircases

The California Building Code explicitly states that stairways shall be maintained clear and in good repair. An injured party will need to show more than a violation of those obligations, however, to prevail in a lawsuit. Specifically, the accident victim must demonstrate that a blockage or the owner’s poor maintenance of the staircase was the direct and proximate reason that they fell. Further, they have to prove that the accident caused real economic losses and injuries. An individual who was running on the stairs or ignored visible warning signs of problems will face a greater challenge in recovering all of their damages. 

Staircase Falls Caused by Construction or Installation Defects

In some cases, a staircase might collapse or crumble if it was not built or installed correctly. An accident victim will always sue the property owner in the first instance to recover their damages. However, experienced lawyers will often get an engineering analysis to determine if the claim can be extended to include manufacturers or contractors. Claims for product defects and negligent construction can help an accident victim to recover the largest available damages in a lawsuit.   

Building Code Violations as a Cause of Staircase Falls

Modern building codes require staircases to have handrails and to limit stair height and width to defined maximum dimensions. Building code violations can be strong evidence of 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.

Collect Evidence About Your Slip and Fall Accident When You Fall Down Stairs

You can improve your opportunity to recover the largest available damages award if you collect as much evidence as soon as is possible after your accident.

  • Take pictures of the condition or hazard that caused you to fall.  A property owner will likely fix broken stairs or remove debris when the owner learns about an accident. Photographs will provide better proof of the condition than verbal descriptions.
  • Write down as much information about the accident as you can remember, including whether you were going up or down the stairs, what type of clothing and shoes you were wearing, whether you were carrying anything or speaking with anyone, how fast you were walking, the time of day and lighting conditions, and whether anyone else was there.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses who saw you fall.
  • Save all of your medical bills and receipts for expenses you incurred as a result of the staircase fall.
  • Make sure that you have the correct address of the property where the accident happened, and if the property has more than one staircase, that you can identify the stairs that you fell on.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you have suffered injuries after falling down stairs at a property in southern California, call us for a free consultation with a slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles about how you can recover damages for your injuries.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented California accident victims for more than twenty years. We will fight tirelessly to recover the largest amount of damages that are available to compensate you for your losses and injuries.