Accidents Due to Defective or Hazardous Conditions on Stairs

By some estimates, the average American will climb between 500,000 and 3.5 million stairs in their lifetime. Stairs are a part of everyday life, often existing in your home, apartment, neighborhood stores, restaurants, and bars, workplaces, doctor’s offices, friend’s homes, and the like. Stairs are so commonplace; the average individual does not even ponder the act of walking up or down them. However, for over one million Americans each year, stairways become the site of injury and even death.

Staircase accidents comprise the second leading cause of accidental injury, second only to automobile accidents. Each year, there are 12,000 stairway accident deaths. Even stairway falls that appear minor can result in serious complications, such as head and brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken or fractured bones, and cuts or lacerations.

Many accidents occurring on stairwells are caused by various types of negligence. This can include:

  • Defects in the stairway, the stairs themselves, or the stairwell
  • Dangerous stair risers, including improper stair height or depth, or uneven stair height or depth
  • Damaged steps, including rotting wood
  • Improper or inferior lighting
  • Defective handrails or railings, or lack of handrails
  • Slippery steps
  • Design defects
  • Objects left on stairs

Property owners have an obligation to keep areas that are used by visitors safe. This includes maintenance of stairways and compliance with local building codes. Property owners, managers, or employees can be held liable for staircase accidents in the same manner they are liable for slip and falls. Negligence exists when the property owner, manager, or employee:

  1. Causes a slippery or dangerous surface conditions on the stairs; or
  2. Knew about dangerous underfoot conditions but did nothing to remedy them; or
  3. Even in the absence of knowledge, liability exists if it can be proven that any reasonable person taking care of the stairs would have discovered the hazardous surface and taken remedial action.

Stair case accidents can be unique to slip and fall cases because they often involve hidden defects. Flaws such as design defects or improperly placed risers are not always readily apparent. Thorough investigation will be required of any stairway accident to uncover any possible negligence on the part of the property owner or possessor.

Peter Thompson & Associates offers the knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled representation stairway fall victims need to obtain a full recovery. Recently, our firm represented an individual seriously injured after falling down the stairway in his fiancée’s apartment. The fall was caused when the stair beneath our client actually moved, sending him tumbling backwards. Through the thorough investigation efforts of Peter Thompson & Associates, it was discovered that several previous complaints had been made concerning the stairs and the city had instructed the property owner to remedy the defect, which it failed to do. We were able to secure a sizable settlement for our client that compensated his past and future medical bills as well as pain and suffering.

Peter Thompson & Associates: Providing Aggressive Representation to the Victims of Stairway Falls

Premises liability cases, particularly those involving stairways, can be complex and require an intricate understanding of Maine slip and fall laws. The premises liability attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates have a proven track record for legal excellence. Attorney Thompson has been voted the best personal injury lawyer by Market Surveys of America. With three convenient offices in Portland, Falmouth, and Bangor, Peter Thompson & Associates will provide you with the highest quality of representation. Call us today at 1 800.804.2004 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Client Reviews
I feel I was treated with respect and was always 'kept in the loop' of what was happening throughout this process. I felt that I could ask any question and always receive an honest and professional response. K.L., Lewiston
Although this has been a difficult time, you have made this much easier by your thoughtfulness and professionalism. M.W., Portland
I would like to thank you for all your help, and taking the time to help me understand things. T.C., South Portland
I am very satisfied with the great people at [your office]. Especially Wendy Clark and Mrs. Mann. Very happy, very pleased. Thank you. D.M., Arundel
I was pleased with the level of professionalism and the effectiveness of your team. This was my first exposure to 'a case' and you made the process easy for me. M.D., Kittery
My brother is an attorney in New York. After my accident 2 years ago I asked him what firm I should go with. He researched and told me to call Peter Thompson and Associates. I followed his recommendation and am glad I did. From the opening bell they were timely, informative, professional AND WARM. Thank you. R.S., South Portland, ME