Many people in Florida use stairs regularly. A tumble down a staircase can cause very serious injuries. In fact, some people have even died from a stair accident. The elderly are especially at risk. There are situations in which somebody simply loses his or her balance and falls, but falls also may result from dangerous staircase conditions. Sometimes a property owner that fails to keep up a staircase and make repairs can be held liable for injuries sustained by an accident victim. At The Grife Law Firm, our Boca Raton premises liability lawyers can help victims bring a claim based on a slip and fall or trip and fall caused by a dangerous staircase.Duties of Property Owners
If you are trying to recover damages from a property owner or occupier for injuries arising out of a dangerous staircase, you probably will need to show that you were lawfully on the premises. A property owner needs to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition and correct risks of which it knew or should have known and of which the visitor did not know and would not have known by using reasonable care. If you were not lawfully on the premises, the property owner only has a duty to refrain from intentionally harming you.Liability for Stair Accidents
Conditions that can make a staircase dangerous include broken steps, broken rails, loose rails, inadequate lighting, debris accumulating on the stairs, weak or cracked stairs, puddles or otherwise slippery conditions, and stairs that are too steep or narrow. If you were on the property lawfully, and you were injured as a result of any of these conditions, you may have a basis to sue the property owner or occupier based on the dangerous staircase. You will need to prove that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous property condition but failed to repair it or issue warnings.
Many cases hinge on whether an accident victim can prove constructive notice, which means that the property owner should have known about the condition even if it did not actually know about it. Constructive knowledge often can be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that a dangerous condition existed for so long that, in the use of ordinary care, the property owner should have known about the condition. It also can be established by proving that the condition occurred regularly, so it should have been foreseeable to the property owner. This might be relevant when a trip and fall or slip and fall accident resulted from debris or puddles on a staircase. Sometimes an expert can offer an opinion on when a defect likely developed, which can help determine whether the owner would have had time to identify and fix it.Injuries and Damages Arising From Dangerous Staircases
The nature of your injuries from a stair accident will determine the scope of the damages that you can recover. Some of the most devastating injuries caused by a major fall include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken hips, internal bleeding, and back injuries. When these injuries leave victims disabled for a long period of time or permanently, and they need extensive medical care in the future, the damages are likely to be substantial.Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer in the Boca Raton Area
After a serious fall on someone else's staircase that you believe was caused by a dangerous condition, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can try to make sure that any evidence that you would need to win your lawsuit is properly preserved. This may include surveillance footage of the area in which the accident occurred, for example. The Grife Law Firm represents accident victims in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, among other South Florida cities. Call us at 561-998-0770 or use our online form to set up a free appointment to learn more about your legal options. We also handle premises liability cases arising from building code violations and other instances of property owner negligence.