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Stairway to Damages: Injury Liability for Falling Down Stairs

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By George Khoury, Esq. on February 15, 2017 3:00 PM

People slip and fall every single day. And while most falls don't result in anything more than a bruised ego, all too often a serious injury results. Injuries can be especially serious when a person slips and falls down a flight of stairs.

Thanks to gravity, a fall in a stairway can cause a person to tumble some distance. Unfortunately for property owners, stairs can be the source of serious, and costly, premises liability claims due to the fact that the injuries tend to be rather severe.

Stair Owner Liability

Simply falling down a set of stairs is not going to create liability. However, if a person encountered a dangerous condition, they will likely have a personal injury claim based on premises liability against the property owner, or even a lessee.

Generally, a property owner must have had notice of the dangerous condition, or should have had notice, prior to the injury taking place in order to be found liable. If the owner caused the dangerous condition, then it is presumed that they have notice. Notably though, just because an owner fixes an alleged dangerous condition, such as a loose railing on a stair case, under the law, that fix cannot be used to prove that the prior condition was dangerous.

Stairway to the Danger Zone

Common dangerous conditions that are found on stairs include:

  • Wet, snowy, or icy stairs
  • Uneven stairs
  • Slippery stairs (i.e. polished wood)
  • Loose railings
  • No railings
  • Dilapidated materials
  • Children's toys, or other objects

Some of the above will be impossible for an offsite property owner to protect against. However, the conditions that relate to regular wear and tear or weather related conditions are something that a property owner likely has a duty to maintain in good repair, particularly if the property is rented, or open to invitees, licensees or guests.

If you've been injured as a result of a slip and fall down a flight of stairs, you should contact an experienced local personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a case or legal remedy.

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