How To Prove Fault In A Stair Case Injury

Posted on: 8 April 2015


Stair cases can cause serious injury. Though all property owners should follow stair safety, they sometimes don't. If you have been injured on stairs, it doesn't always mean the owner is at fault. Here are some tips on how to prove fault for injuries on a stair case

Establish The Property Owner Was Negligent

You will have a greater chance of winning your claim if you can prove the property owner was negligent. Ask the following:  

  • Did the owner of the property or employee know of dangers such as spills, ice, cracks in wood, crumbling steps, wobbly handrails, or torn carpet and failed to repair them?
  • Did the owner or an employee cause the danger?
  • Could a reasonable person have found the danger and reported even if the owner didn't know?
  • How long was the danger there?
  • Was the lighting poor?
  • Could the owner have barricaded the dangerous area or put up a warning sign?
  • If an object on the steps caused your fall, did the owner have a legitimate reason for it to be there?

Try to get a photograph of the stairs as soon as possible after the accident. If the stairs have already been fixed, talk to witnesses or view surveillance.

Consider Your Own Negligence

Keep in mind your own negligence will be considered by property owner's insurance provider. Ask yourself: 

  • Did you have legal right to be on the premises?
  • Could a reasonable person have avoided the conditions?
  • Were you running down the stairs, taking two steps at a time or doing something distracting like texting? Explain what you were doing when you fell to let the insurance know you were being careful.

Look for Building Code Violations

Property owners must follow building codes.  

  • Certain kinds of staircases require handrails. If the staircase should have been constructed with a handrail or an incorrect height, the owner is more likely to be at fault.
  • The vertical and horizontal parts of steps, or the riser and run, must meet the correct depth and height. Get a measurement of the riser and run and compare it with building code requirements.
  • The height and depth must also be even. You naturally recall the height or depth of the previous steps. If the next step isn't the same depth and height, you may fall.  

Staircase injuries can be difficult to prove, but it doesn't mean you should refrain from seeking a settlement. Even if the owner had warning signs, they could still be liable. It is best to get an attorney to help you handle your case.