Our client was leaving a rental property in Richmond, California. She fell when walking down defective stairs that were not up to code and that did not have the required handrail. The fall she took on the stairway from the building to the sidewalk changed her life — destroying her left ankle and leading to nine surgeries and two amputations.
When Clancy & Diaz was retained, it went into action and retained building code and safety experts to inspect the stairway. Clancy & Diaz sent a lengthy and detailed demand letter that analyzed all of the legal issues and damages to the client, including defective stairs and a missing handrail. The letter also included photos of the client's gruesomely damaged ankle, surgeons’ comments and a precise itemization of the million-dollar medical bills she faced.
“The physical and psychological injuries are substantial. Aside from losing her left leg, she continues to suffer from depression, will need physical therapy and years of prosthetics, and has incurred massive medical bills. As a result of her injuries she has lost her independence and is reliant upon others for her most basic needs,” stated the Clancy & Diaz letter to the insurer.
The insurer paid its policy limits, as well as its large umbrella policy within 30 days of receiving the letter.
A study published by The American Journal of Emergency Medicine in September 2017 found stairway injuries to be prevalent:
- Over a million Americans are injured on stairs each year.
- “An estimated 24,760,843 patients were treated in emergency departments for a stair-related injury during the 23-year study period (1990 to 2012) averaging 1,076,558 patients annually, or 37.8 injuries per 10,000 United States residents.”
- Stairway injuries affect children, adults and senior citizens.
- Conclusion: “Stairs are a common source of injury among individuals of all ages and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing. This underscores the need for increased prevention efforts, particularly those related to stair design and construction.”
This New York Times story features tips on how to avoid injuries when navigating steps, including using footwear with slip-resistant soles; taking smaller steps, especially when it’s icy or snowy; and scanning the path in front of you for potential hazards.
If you were injured in a stairway slip and fall accident, contact us today so that we can help you.