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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 stairs leads to more than one million emergency room visits per year– that’s one every 30 seconds. In fact, an estimated 12,000 people die from falling down the stairs each year. While any slip, trip, or fall can lead to serious injury, tumbling down a flight of stairs is a greater threat for many reasons:

  • There is a longer way to fall, with increasing speed due to gravity.
  • It’s possible to flip head over heels on the way down.
  • Falling downhill is associated with head and back injuries.
  • Each stair represents a hard surface capable of causing injury.

If people who are injured falling down stairs do not know their rights, they may be left with steep medical bills and unaddressed medical needs. For those dealing with injuries from this type of accident, an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer from Salamati Law can help. We know what it takes to succeed in a premises liability claim so those injured can be fully compensated.

Do You Need a Stairway Accident Attorney?

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

It is not always necessary to have the representation of a law firm. Individuals can go to their local courthouse, pay the filing fee, and file all the required paperwork to pursue a lawsuit on behalf of themselves – “pro se.” However, personal injury and premises liability claims are difficult to prove without substantial resources. A law firm can subpoena documents, investigate the defendant, take depositions, and consult with outside experts who can lend credibility to your claim. They’ll make sure you have all the evidence necessary to obtain the maximum settlement value.

You might need the help of stairway accident attorneys if:

  • You sustained a head or back injury, broke a bone, or have injuries not likely to heal in a few weeks.
  • Your injuries resulted in the need for medical care, therapy, medication, or other out-of-pocket costs.
  • The stairs you fell on were in a state of disrepair, wet, dimly lit, or lacking a handrail and no-slip strips.
  • It has been less than two years from the date of your injury.

Sometimes the property owner’s insurance company will contact you right away, offering a quick settlement. The first amount is rarely enough to cover the total cost of your injuries. A personal injury firm can advise you as to whether a settlement offer is sufficient or fair. Often, a letter from a law firm is enough to make the insurer take your claim seriously.

Common Causes of Stair Falls in Los Angeles

Cracked and broken cement steps

Southern California’s abundant sunshine does not insulate its residents from suffering serious injuries in slip and fall accidents. For multiple reasons, including faulty construction or negligent maintenance, these accidents frequently occur on staircases. Building owners and managers are often well aware of these risks but fail to implement simple safety precautions that can prevent them.

Some of the more common causes include:

Poor Lighting

One of the most common causes of a slip and fall on the stairs has nothing to do with the integrity of the stairs. Inadequately lit stairwells can present a slip and fall risk to even the most able-bodied person. Your inability to see a stair path can pose challenges in safely navigating your way up or down. In some cases, poor lighting combines with other hazards to increase the chances of a serious trip and fall injury. If you struggle with depth perception or have other physical limitations, you may face an even greater challenge when you attempt to negotiate dimly lit staircases.

Wet or Slippery Stairs

Southern California’s temperate climate keeps its residents safe from challenges caused by accumulations of ice or snow. However, this region is no stranger to rain and other water sources that 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 staircase handrails because they are one of the most basic safety features. They provide an individual with an option for steadying themselves and preventing their loss of balance as they ascend or descend. Staircases with missing or broken handrails are notoriously 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 to discover these issues may be responsible for all of an injured party’s costs and 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, maintenance issues can manifest themselves through the accumulation of dirt, trash, or water in stairwells or cracked or loose steps on stairway risers. Building owners should implement policies and procedures for thoroughly cleaning and repairing staircases to remove this common skip and fall risk factor. 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 having broken or collapsed stairs that pose a high risk for injury. A building owner who cannot immediately make necessary repairs is obligated, at a minimum, to place warning signs and other caution markers around them and to provide reasonable alternate means of access around them.

Inadequate Design

Suppose a stairwell is inherently flawed with stairs that are too shallow, too tall, or a combination of both. In that case, slip and fall liability may fall on the architect or contractor who designed and installed them. 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. An experienced attorney at Salamati Law will always consider whether the staircase design added to the slip and fall risk when they represent an injured slip and fall accident victim.

Common Injuries from Falling Down Stairs

Whatever the cause, falling down stairs can cause serious injuries. These are a few of the more common injuries after a slip and fall accident

  • Fractures – Falls down stairs often result in fractures, some of which can be very dangerous. Fractured wrists, hips, shoulders, and skull fractures are potential injuries resulting from a fall down stairs.
  • Traumatic brain injuries – Falls down stairs are a common cause of traumatic brain injury, especially among the intoxicated and the elderly. Symptoms can be mild, like fatigue and confusion, or severe, with depression and cognitive disability. 
  • 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 years that follow, particularly if the individual is elderly or overweight.
  • Deep lacerations – Serious gashes 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.

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.

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.

Who is Responsible for a Stairway Slip and Fall Accident?

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.

If you suffer an injury from a fall down stairs, it may not take long to realize the value of having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side. Even more so than in other personal injury situations, insurance companies and property owners will quickly assume that the victim was at fault. After seeing many stairway accidents, we know that this is overly simplistic.

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.

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

A printed out medical bill with a stethoscope on top

Slip and fall compensation, or what a stairway injury is truly worth, will depend on factors like:

  • Seriousness of the injury and prognosis for recovery
  • Amount of medical bills
  • Related medical treatment anticipated for the future
  • Lost wages and future lost income
  • Extent of disability due to the injury
  • Whether the victim was partly at fault for the fall

While it is almost impossible to correctly forecast the amount of compensation you can recover in a slip and fall lawsuit, it is possible to approximate your potential recovery, given the nature of your injuries. Potential types of compensation available in a stairwell slip and fall include:

Medical Expenses

In many slip and fall accidents, the cost of medical treatment can quickly become overwhelming. Even minor injuries can run up 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

Slip and fall accidents are often painful. You might be entitled to monetary compensation based on the severity of that pain. These types of damages can be challenging to prove, given that they are subjective. A Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer can evaluate your injuries and the impact the accident has had on your life. Based on this information, they will advise you on what your pain and suffering claim might be worth.

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 could find themselves out of action for months at a time. Using your employment records, your attorney could identify the amount of lost wages you are entitled to recover. In cases where your injuries require you to change careers, the compensation could be significant.

Contact a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

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.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

Businessman shaking hands to seal a deal

If you or a loved one has 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, but we never charge a legal fee unless we win an award on your behalf. We work with skilled experts to prove your case and provide thorough 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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