South Florida’s population is growing, and a growing population means a larger number of buildings. A larger number of buildings means more multi-story buildings, and that means more stairwells. More stairwells, of course, means more risks and hazards for a broad array of injuries. Any stairwell poses risks of falling, but older or poorly-built stairwells in particular pose risks of structural hazards, like broken steps or outright collapse. People injured in stairwell accidents should consult with a Florida stairwell accident attorney, who can help evaluate damages and determine the liable party.
Accidents on stairwells can result from any number of conditions, many of which are the responsibility of a property owner or manager to repair. These may include:
- Foreign substance on one or more steps, causing someone to slip;
- Broken or loose steps;
- Irregular or uneven steps due to poor design or construction;
- Irregular or uneven steps due to poor maintenance;
- Missing or broken handrails;
- Low lighting conditions; or
- Non-compliance with building codes or regulations.
Injuries from Stairwell Accidents
Most stairwell accidents involve a fall of some sort, usually the result of slipping or a structural failure of the stairs themselves. These can cause cuts and bruises, sprains, or fractures. Severe accidents could cause brain or spinal cord injuries, paralysis, or even death in some cases.
The legal theory of premises liability governs most Florida stairwell accident claims. A property owner or manager — including retail spaces, offices, and homes — has a duty to people who come into their premises to visit or do business. They must maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, taking steps to repair dangerous conditions, or to warn visitors of hazards. Property owners and managers who fail to remedy a dangerous condition, or to warn guests about such hazards present on the property, may be liable to visitors who suffer injuries.
A person making a claim for a stairwell accident injury must be prepared to show that they used the stairwell in a reasonable and safe manner. A defendant in a stairwell accident claim will often try to show that a plaintiff behaved negligently, which would offset or eliminate the defendant’s liability. A person caught on a security camera running down a narrow, dark stairwell clearly marked with “danger” signs, for example, might have a difficult time with an injury claim.
Stairwells are often subject to further regulatory requirements because the severe injury risks that they pose. Stairwells in commercial properties may also be subject to local building codes and laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stairwells in industrial settings, particularly construction sites, may fall under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A failure to comply with regulations may help an injured person’s claim for damages.
The Deerfield Beach injury attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. represent people in Palm Beach and Broward County who have been injured by dangerous conditions on someone’s property. Contact the firm through this website or at 954-428-9333 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.