Without the proper safety measures, a staircase can cause serious injury. The result for some injured individuals is large medical debt, lost wages, and a drastic change to one’s quality of life.
Slips and falls are extremely common, accounting for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year (the leading cause of visits). Falls can happen anywhere, including on staircases, from a higher level to a lower level, or on even ground.
However, staircase falls are known to be more severe than other types of falls. This is because of the sharp edges and corners that people can hit their heads or other body parts off of. This is why it’s so important that staircase laws are followed when building and maintaining buildings.
Types of Injuries Caused by Staircase Falls
There are many different types of injuries that can be caused by a fall on the stairs. These types of injuries can vary greatly in severity. While some may walk away with only minor injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or minor breaks, others may sustain severe or life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or death.
Strains, sprains, fractures, and breaks are all common types of minor injuries that may occur because of a fall down the stairs. These types of injuries often heal without the need for excessive medical care. However, even a trip to the emergency room can be costly—with or without health insurance.
More serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries, are more likely to cause long-term damage. Therefore, these severe injuries often require long-term medical care and more intensive treatment. As a result, victims with these injuries will experience greater medical debt and a larger change to their quality of life.
How Do Staircase Injuries Occur: Hazards on the Stairs
While falls on the stairs are common, there are many other types of accidents that occur there as well. For example, if a step is missing or broken, the victim may trip, falling forward or backward. Here are some of the most common hazards that make staircases dangerous.
- Poor lighting
- Objects, debris, or clutter left on the stairs
- Missing or damaged steps
- Slippery steps
- Missing or broken handrails
- Uneven steps or risers
- Torn up or ripped carpeting
Where Can Staircase Injuries Occur?
Staircase injuries can occur pretty much anywhere, but most commonly occur on residential and commercial properties, such as apartment complexes, hotels, and businesses.
If you’re injured on the staircase in your apartment complex, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the landlord for not fixing the hazard within a reasonable timeframe. If you are injured on a staircase at a business, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the property owner for not maintaining their property and ensuring its safety.
The key difference here is how liability is determined. In a lawsuit with a landlord, the insurance company may be able to argue that, while the hazard was present for a long period of time, you (as an occupant) would know this and avoid it. However, this argument can easily be dispelled by hiring an experienced slip and fall accident attorney.
These two types of lawsuits are very different. So you should make sure to hire an attorney that has experience with residential or commercial cases depending on where your accident occurred. At Jones Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience with both types of slip and fall cases.
Why is Staircase Design so Important?
How a staircase is designed plays a huge part in how safe it is. There are certain rules and regulations that design companies must follow when designing staircases for buildings. If the stairs aren’t up to code, they can be hazardous.
While staircase design is incredibly important, so is maintenance. Maintaining the stairs to ensure that they aren’t damaged or broken can help to prevent an accident from occurring. A landlord that doesn’t ensure the stairs in their apartment complex are well-maintained could be at fault for any injury that takes place there. The same is true of a property owner of a commercial location.
Receiving Compensation for Your Damages: How Much Will My Settlement Be?
Each and every slip and fall case is different, so it can be hard to guess just how much you’ll receive in compensation without looking over your case. However, your case’s value is estimated by adding up all of your damages, including both economic and non-economic varieties. That includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (in a wrongful death case)
- Permanent injury or disability compensation
- And more, depending on your injury
To get a better estimate of how much you’ll receive for your settlement, schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced slip and fall attorney at Jones Law Group. For more information, please contact us online or at 727-571-1333.