Staircase accidents are relatively common, with an average of 1,076,558 stair-related emergency room visits per year in the United States and several million more stair victims seeking medical treatment. While anyone can have a stair mishap, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to injuries.
Attorney Bryan Garrett has more than 15 years of legal experience in personal injury cases, including stair accidents. Contact our office for a free consultation.
Who Is Liable for a Staircase Accident?
Staircase accidents fall under the umbrella of slip and fall accidents. When a slip and fall accident occurs, the property owner is typically liable for the injuries. As a result, the person who slips or falls on a staircase could be eligible to receive compensation for:
– Lost wages
– Lost future earning capacity
– Medical bills
– Ongoing treatments, rehabilitation, and other expenses
– Wrongful death benefits (if the accident is fatal)
– Pain and suffering
– Loss of consortium
Common Causes of Stairway Accidents
Most people have at least one story of a staircase injury that resulted from clumsiness, not paying attention, and even intoxication. The staircase injuries that a personal injury attorney will handle are under a different category.
When there is something that’s faulty about the staircase and it causes someone to become injured, you may benefit from the services of a lawyer who can seek compensation on your behalf.
A faulty staircase can be caused by several conditions, including:
– Overly narrow or steep staircases that do not comply with local building codes
– Uneven surfaces or spacing
– Slippery surfaces or spills
– Faulty or missing handrails
– Poor lighting
– No anti-slip overhang tread (referred to as nosing)
– Damaged carpet
– Obstacles like cords, objects, or debris
These accidents can happen anywhere, from a friend or family member’s home to a grocery store, or a school or government building.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Staircase Accident?
In an ideal world, all staircases would be perfectly maintained. And, if an accident did happen, the property owner would readily compensate the injured party fairly.
Unfortunately, the real world can get messy. Commercial and residential property owners will almost always have insurance, and that means the insurance company is charged with valuing your claim and offering a settlement. Because insurance companies are driven by profit, their goal is to pay you as little as possible (or perhaps nothing at all) in a premises liability claim.
Having a personal injury attorney on your side with experience in staircase accidents can be incredibly helpful in moving your case forward and securing fair compensation for your injuries.
An attorney will be your advocate and fulfill the following responsibilities:
– Investigate and gather evidence about the incident to get an accurate picture of what happened. This step could include interviewing witnesses, requesting maintenance records, and surveying the scene.
– Consult with subject matter experts in areas such as construction and medicine to get additional context and determine how to most accurately value your claim.
– Defend you against claims of comparative negligence, which could potentially reduce or negate your claim.
– Negotiate with the insurance company to secure maximum claim value.
– File a lawsuit and represent you in court if a settlement agreement cannot be reached.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
When a stair accident happens, one of the first steps may be to look at the condition of the stairs and how they’ve been maintained.
However, there could be alternative or additional parties who also had a duty to provide a safe and effective product. In addition to determining whether the property owner is liable, your attorney may also consider a lawsuit to include:
– Building developers
– Construction companies
– Interior designers
– Property managers
Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises and keep them free of dangerous or hazardous conditions. Generally, this means that the owner should be aware of the condition of the stairs and fix any issues as soon as possible. If an immediate fix is not possible, there is a duty to warn visitors and guests of any issues that could potentially cause harm.
There are reasonableness standards that will be evaluated by the insurance company (or a jury if the case goes to trial) to determine whether the property owner fulfilled their duty.
Contact Bryan Garrett to Discuss a Staircase Accident
There is a limited amount of time to file a claim after a staircase accident, referred to as the statute of limitations. In Oklahoma, that limit is two years. There are exceptions that occur when there was a delay in discovering the injury from the incident, but it’s always a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine how to proceed.
Bryan Garrett has over 15 years of experience, and he has successfully represented clients across the state in a wide range of personal injury claims. Contact us today for a free consultation.