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Determining Fault in a Stairway Accident Case

It is no secret that stairs can be tremendously dangerous, especially as these structures begin to age. Stairwells can fall into disrepair after years or decades of continual use, creating a potentially deadly danger. If you have had a slip and fall or other accident on someone else's stairs, you may be able to seek monetary compensation for your damages. However, not all accidents will result in a valid claim and it is critical to understand how fault is determined in these cases.

Stairway Accidents and Premises Liability

Slip and fall injuries, such as stairway accidents are typically included under the umbrella of premises liability. This legal theory states that property owners and building managers have a legal duty to provide guests, customers, and visitors with a reasonably safe and hazard free environment. If this duty of care is not upheld and dangerous conditions are allowed to exist, owners may be liable for the injuries which happen on their property.

A successful claim must prove factors including:

  1. An unsafe condition existed: A fall on its own may not constitute a claim. A reasonably dangerous condition must exist such as a broken handrail or slippery surface. California sets strict safety standards that all stairways must meet.
  2. Property owners knew of the danger: A property owner must have known about the specific danger and failed or refused to take mitigating actions. In some cases, it might be enough to prove that an owner should have reasonably known about the hazard.
  3. Victims suffered an injury as a direct result: Lastly, a victim must have suffered specific damages as a direct result of the hazard. A person who encounters a hazard but does not suffer any damages may not have grounds to file a claim.

Owners who are facing a premises liability claim may attempt to put the blame for the accident back on the victim. One way that they may do this is by arguing that the danger was obvious or sufficient warning was given. Proving that you do not share responsibility for an accident can sometimes be just as important as establishing that a property owner was at fault. Every accident case will be different and if you would like legal advice about your specific situation, it may be time to get an experienced attorney involved.

Aggressive Injury Attorneys in the Bay Area

If you have been injured on someone else's property, do not hesitate to contact Clancy & Diaz, LLP. We have substantial experience fighting for victims injured in slip & fall accidents and our firm has recovered more than $11 million for clients in past cases. Our Oakland premises liability attorneys can help you understand if a property owner may be liable for your injuries.

Call (925) 835-7500 or contact us online to request a free case evaluation.

Categories: Premises Liability