Injuries from Defective Stairs or Curbing
Stairs and curbs are a primary source of falls across the nation. While many stair and curb accident victims blame themselves for the fall—they tell themselves they were clumsy or careless—in fact, flawed stair design or defective stairs and curbing could actually be at fault. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission estimates that more than a million stair-related accidents have occurred each year since 1990, with the elderly being particularly vulnerable to falls. Some actually believe that stairs may be one of the most dangerous consumer products, causing twice as many deaths annually as drownings, fires or burns. Some causes of injuries associated with defective stairs and curbing include the following:
- Stair steps which are broken or damaged;
- Stair treads or steps which are defectively designed;
- An icy or wet stairway;
- Stairways which have been built without benefit of licenses or permits;
- Steps which are uneven in height;
- Stair edges which are not clearly visible;
- Improperly built handrails, or handrails which are shaky or collapse;
- Insufficient lighting in stairwells;
- Cluttered stairways;
- Stairways with spilled liquids;
- Stairways with trash or debris strewn across them;
- Stairways which have tools left by a construction company in the walk path;
- Curbs which are uneven in height or especially high, and
- Curbs inside a parking garage which are poorly lit or marked.
Liability for Injuries from Defective Stairs or Curbing
People fall on stairs and trip over curbs fairly often. If those slips, trips and falls were due to negligence on the part of the owner of the property, injuries could be compensable through a premises liability claim. If any of the following circumstances existed at the time of the fall, the owner of the property could be held legally responsible for the victim’s injuries:
- The property owner or its employee caused the spill, torn spot, trash, break or damage, or other damage to the stairs or curb.
- The property owner or an employee was aware of the hazardous condition which existed on the stairs or curb, and did nothing to rectify that condition.
- The owner of the property or an employee should reasonably have known of the dangers associated with the stairs or curb.
- A reasonable person who was in charge of taking care of the property would have discovered the dangers condition associated with the stairs or curb and taken steps to remove or repair the condition.
As with all slip, trip and fall injuries, the insurance company or a jury will determine whether the person who was injured was put on notice of the dangerous condition and whether the person who fell shared some of the fault through carelessness. In other words, if there was a sign at the top and bottom of the stairs which warned people that there were tools on the stairway because it was being repaired, then the person who fell had a duty to exercise more care than usual. On the flip side, stairs have inherent dangers which are generally not present in a slip and fall on a level surface. As an example, the step could have rotted over the years and was ready to collapse—a fact which might not have been evident to the person stepping on the stair. This means an experienced premises liability attorney will need to fully investigate the incident, determining whether the stairs should have been constructed or maintained differently.
Parking Garage Dangers
Parking garages across the nation come with inherent dangers. Most parking garages have curbs, stairs and other areas where a slip and fall could occur. Additionally, many of these areas may be poorly lit, and employees may not routinely take note of any lights which are out, spills or dangerous surfaces on stairways. If there is a broken or poorly designed curb, there may be no sign to warn those walking in the area because nobody has bothered to routinely inspect the area.
Parking garage owners—like the owners of any property or business—have a legal duty of care to keep their premises reasonably safe. This includes regular inspections, and the repair of hazardous conditions or defects when necessary. Because most parking garage stairs are made from concrete, falling in a stairwell within the structure can result in serious injuries to the brain, as well as fractures to wrists, arms and legs, injuries to the spine and neck and internal injuries if the fall was from a significant height.
Getting Legal Help for Your Injuries from a Fall on Defective Stairs or Curbing
The experienced Southaven premises liability attorneys from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton want to help those who have suffered serious injury from a fall on a defective stairway or curb. We can subpoena surveillance footage of the area, if it exists, and take photographs and videos of the dangerous condition which led to your injuries. We understand that the sooner the scene is documented, the less chance it can be covered up.
If there were witnesses to the accident, our attorneys will obtain witness statements to enhance your case. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and your resulting injuries, you may be eligible for reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages if the negligence was willful. The attorneys at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton believes the owner of the defective stairs or curbing is legally obligated to ensure visitors are safe, and if he or she was aware of the dangers, an obligation to fix the hazards or, at the very least, provide warning. Call Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today at (662) 536-5656.