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Stairwell Slip and Fall Lawyer in Los Angeles

Two men helping a man after he fell down a set of stairs.

Falling down a flight of stairs leads to more than one million emergency room visits per year–one every 30 seconds. An estimated 12,000 people die each year. While any slip, trip, or fall can lead to serious injury, tumbling down stairs is a greater threat for many reasons, e.g., it’s possible to flip head over heels on the way down. If the accident was due to the negligence of another party, you might be entitled to compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Accident victims who do not know their rights may be facing steep medical bills, financial instability, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been hurt in this type of accident, contact an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer from Salamati Law. We know what it takes to succeed in a premises liability claim and will fight for your right to recover compensation for your losses and damages. Schedule a free consultation today. 

Can You Sue for Falling Down Stairs in California?

View of the interior of a courtroom from the judge's bench

Yes, you can sue for falling down stairs in California as long as the following conditions are met:

  • You were injured in a staircase that had some defect, such as a loose board, faulty railing, or uneven spacing between stairs.
  • Your fall was due to the negligence of a property owner, a maintenance contractor, or some other party.
  • You suffered substantial hardships, such as medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering.
  • Your accident happened within the last two years (the statute of limitations).

Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer at Salamati Law will always consider whether the staircase design added to the risk when representing an injured slip and fall accident victim.

Who is Responsible for a Stairway Slip and Fall Accident?

The California Building Code 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:

  • 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 or poor lighting. They could also be liable if they fail to warn tenants or visitors of potential dangers such as broken steps or frayed carpeting.
  • 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.
  • Government entities: If a government entity was responsible for the stairs, such as in a public park or government building, they could be held liable if their negligence contributed to the accident. However, these cases are often more complex and follow specific legal procedures.

Insurance companies and property owners will work to deny liability and may claim the accident was your fault. These are familiar tactics and underscore the importance of working with a skilled and experienced attorney.

Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Falling Down the Stairs?

An investigator writing on a clipboard while inspecting a building

The landlord, property management company, or another party responsible for maintenance may be liable for a slip and fall in an apartment building if the tenant can show that any of these parties knew of the hazard but failed to take “reasonable” action.

If you are considering suing your landlord– or someone else– begin your claim early to strengthen your case. As soon as possible, it is beneficial to gather evidence of your accident, like the names and contact information of witnesses and photos of the location of the fall. This will be helpful later if there are conflicting stories of the condition of the stairs or if the responsible parties try to push blame.

Accident attorneys can conduct a full investigation to see if the stairs were up to the local building code, if the venue has a history of similar accidents, and whether anything could have or should have been done to prevent your fall. At Salamati Law, we have the resources to bring in outside experts who can substantiate your claim, including the severity of your injuries, matters of liability, and future costs for your rehabilitation.

Common Causes of Stair Falls in Los Angeles

Cracked and broken cement steps

A stairwell accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident and identify the liable party or parties whose negligence contributed to the fall.

Some of the more common causes of stairwell accidents in Los Angeles include:

Poor Lighting

Poor lighting can pose challenges in safely navigating a flight of stairs. In some cases, poor lighting combined with other hazards, such as debris or other obstacles on the stairs, increase the risk of a serious trip and fall injury. If you struggle with depth perception or have other physical limitations, you may face an even more significant challenge when you attempt to negotiate dimly lit staircases.

Wet or Slippery Stairs

Rain and other water sources, such as condensation or spills, can make staircases slippery. For example, older or worn-down staircases with stone or metal surfaces pose high slip and fall risks when wet. Property owners who know that their staircases are slippery when wet but who do nothing to make those staircases safer will be almost de facto liable for injuries.

Lack of Handrails

Building codes require handrails because they are an essential safety feature. They provide an individual with an option for steadying themselves and preventing a loss of balance as they ascend or descend. Staircases with missing or broken handrails are dangerous because they lack that primary safety feature. A building owner or manager aware of a missing handrail or who does not have proper inspection protocols may be responsible for an injured party’s expenses resulting from a slip and fall on that staircase.

Poor Maintenance

Some staircases may become hazardous over time due to poor maintenance. For example, the accumulation of dirt, trash, or water in stairwells or cracked or loose steps on stairway risers pose a serious risk. Building owners should implement policies and procedures for thoroughly cleaning and repairing staircases. An owner’s failure to do this may result in liability for an injured party’s expenses.

Broken or Collapsed Stairs

Older or heavily used staircases are susceptible to collapsed or broken stairs. A building owner who cannot immediately make necessary repairs is obligated, at a minimum, to place warning signs and provide reasonable alternate means of access.

Inadequate Design

The staircase design may be to blame when stairs are too shallow, too tall, unevenly spaced, or in some other way defective and dangerous. The material used in a staircase may also play a role if it is unduly slick or has a surface that exposes a user to a tripping hazard.

What Are the Most Common Injuries from Falling Down Stairs?

Falling down a flight of stairs can cause severe and life-altering injuries. These are a few of the more common:  

  • Fractures: Falls down stairs often result in broken bones, such as fractured hips, shoulders, legs, and arms, as well as fractured skulls.
  • Injuries to the hands and wrists: People will often extend their hands to stop from falling. The impact can result in a “fall on an outstretched hand injury,” a FOOSH injury.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): TBIs are common from falling down a flight of stairs. The symptoms of a head injury can be mild, like fatigue and confusion, or severe, with depression, memory loss, and cognitive disabilities.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Compression of discs and slipped discs may occur when falling down a flight of stairs. Surgery is commonly prescribed as a treatment, but results vary, and rehabilitation is lengthy.
  • Sprains and strains: Soft tissue tears are common and could result in the need for surgery or lengthy physical therapy.
  • Joint damage – A twisted knee or misaligned hip can lead to bone-on-bone arthritis in the future, particularly if the individual is elderly or overweight.
  • Deep lacerations – Serious lacerations may require sutures and scar a person for life, hurting self-esteem, job prospects, and quality of life.
  • Internal organ damage – A rib can puncture an internal organ, causing life-threatening injuries.

How to Tell if Injuries from a Fall Down Stairs Are Serious or Not

A male doctor explaining lumbar anatomy to female patient complaining of back pain at medical clinic

Falling down the stairs can be a shocking event. Seek immediate medical attention if:

  • There is a loss of consciousness. Even if you “come to,” you should still get to the ER.
  • You suffer a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, or confusion.
  • You have severe bleeding that persists longer than 15 minutes.
  • Your bones are displaced, severely bruised, painful, numb, or feel unusually warm/cold.
  • Walking, seeing, or speaking becomes difficult after your fall.

Falling down stairs is an occupational hazard in some industries

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

In some professions, falls down stairs are among the most common causes of injury and fatality, so the risk should not be taken lightly. Industries where workers are especially at risk of a stair fall, include the:

  • Service industry
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Construction industry
  • Food and drink industry

Worker’s compensation is often woefully inadequate at covering all of the expenses associated with a serious accident, so it’s worth contacting us at Salamati Law for a free consultation to explore your full range of options.

What Compensation is Available for a Stairwell Slip and Fall Case in Los Angeles?

A printed out medical bill with a stethoscope on top

The average slip and fall settlement for a stairwell accident will depend on the seriousness of the injuries, the prognosis for recovery, the extent of disability, the amount of medical bills, and whether you are partially at fault.

You may be eligible for the following:

  • Medical expenses. The cost of medical treatment can quickly become overwhelming. Even minor injuries can incur significant medical bills following a hospital trip or ambulance ride. These expenses will often continue for years after the accident if, for example, you require extensive rehabilitation.
  • Pain and suffering can refer to any physical pain, emotional suffering, or psychological distress suffered after an accident. Examples include reduced quality of life and enjoyment of life, disfigurement or scarring, physical impairment, and increased susceptibility to future injury or harm.
  • Lost wages. If you are too injured to work after a fall, you could be entitled to pursue compensation for your lost income. Some people miss a few days of work, while others may not be able to work for months at a time. Using your employment records, your attorney can identify the lost wages you are entitled to recover. Compensation could be significant in cases where your injuries require you to change careers.

Contact a Lawyer as Soon as Possible After a Stairwell Fall

An hourglass with blue sand running through it sitting on a calendar

Injuries from falling down stairs can be serious and a cause of lifelong disability. Sometimes you don’t realize how serious the harm is until years later. Unfortunately, California’s statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents is just two years. Sometimes your attorney can fight for your claim, arguing that the litigation clock should start ticking upon the “realization of harm” rather than the original date of injury. However, it is wise to act as soon as possible for a stronger case.

The Slip and Fall Lawyer Los Angeles Trusts

Businessman shaking hands to seal a deal

If you have been injured in a fall on someone else’s property in Los Angeles, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses, such as medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. We have recovered settlements worth $250,000 to over $1 million on behalf of slip and fall victims.

Salamati Law Firm is committed to fighting aggressively for your rights. We never charge legal fees unless we win an award on your behalf. We work with skilled experts to build a compelling case and provide open and honest communication so you are always aware of your claim’s status. Call today to set up a free consultation with a skilled Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer.

Additional stairway accidents resources:

  1. Reuters, Injuries on stairs occur in all age groups and abilities, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-injuries-stairs/injuries-on-stairs-occur-in-all-age-groups-and-abilities-idUSKBN1CE1Z4
  2. Church Mutual, Risk Alert: Recognizing the importance of slips and falls on steps and stairs, https://www.churchmutual.com/media/riskalert/pdfs/RAStairandStepSafety.pdf
  3. National Safety Council, Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention will Keep Older Adults Safe and Independent, http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/safety-at-home-falls.aspx

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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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