Falls are the second leading cause of injury death, behind motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Safety Council, over 1 million people are injured in falls each year which can lead to time away from work, mounting medical bills and temporary or permanent disability. Many times, falling down the stairs is preventable with proper safety measures and care to ensure other’s well-being. When this doesn’t happen and negligence contributes to your fall down the stairs, it may be possible to sue to recover compensation for your injuries.
Causes of Stairwell Falls
Stairway accidents can happen for a number of different reasons. The most common causes of stairway accidents include:
- Stair heights that are too high or uneven
- Uneven spacing between steps
- Poorly lit stairwells
- Damaged stairs
- Defective or broken banisters and railings
- Lack of security
- Ice or snow build-up
- State or local building code violations
Many of these factors that cause falls in stairwells could have been rectified with proper maintenance and building practices. In some cases, the building owner should have warned passers-by about the danger.
Liability in Stairwell Accidents
Under New Jersey premises liability law, property owners are obligated to provide a safe environment for people who are visiting their property. Generally, residential property owners are held to a different standard than commercial property owners. Private property owners aren’t held liable for injuries unless the homeowner has created an artificially dangerous condition. For instance, perhaps the residential property owner failed to maintain the stairs leading to their front door, causing the stairs to become damaged and defective. In some scenarios, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim.
On the other hand, commercial property owners not only have a responsibility to provide a safe stairwell but they also could be held liable for injuries occurring from a slip-and-fall accident. Unlike residential property owners, the theory is that the commercial landowner’s business benefits financially from its patrons using the stairs and that they can pass along to its patrons the cost to maintain them, including the cost to insure against the liability arising from an injury. If you’ve been injured falling down the stairs at a commercial property, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.
Compensation for a Stairwell Accident
A variety of injuries can result from a fall down the stairs, with some being more serious than others. If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident, you should always seek immediate medical treatment. Not only will it provide the best outcome for your long-term healing but by seeking medical treatment you will also then have documentation of your injuries. Medical records are an important part of any legal action against the party responsible for your fall.
Compensation in a personal injury claim typically includes what are called economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to your tangible losses like the cost of medical treatment and lost wages from your time away from work. Non-economic damages are awarded for intangible losses like the pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident.
Call Our Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers for Help
If you’ve been injured in a stairwell accident due to the property owner’s negligence, you should consider discussing your case with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney. At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassion and empathy and want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.