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When Bad Stairs Make for Bad Falls: What You Should Know


There’s no doubt that bad stairs make for bad falls and staircase accidents. In fact, it takes just missing a few steps to suffer serious injuries. In some cases, your fall may be attributable to someone else’s negligence. To determine whether you can pursue a cause of action, you’ll need to meet with an attorney experienced in handling slip and fall cases.

Meanwhile, you should know that staircase accidents and slip, trip, and fall claims are a subset of premise liability law. Like other states, Pennsylvania sets expectations for property owners. The bottom line focuses on avoiding personal injury.

Obviously, not every fall down steps suggests filing a negligence lawsuit. Consider the teenager who falls down an entire staircase in her own home. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the condition of the stairs. Instead, she falls head over heels because she’s distracted while responding to a text message on her phone.

When the young woman’s parents rush her to the emergency room, they learn that falling down more than ten steps expedites their daughter’s treatment. Fortunately, she escapes serious injuries with just a few bruises. Is there potential for a lawsuit? Probably not in this case.


All kinds of things factor into any type of personal injury claim. To begin with, there’s the need to determine a property owner’s liability. Next are the circumstances of the accident that caused the harm.

Meanwhile, that’s not to say that you can’t recover damages if you’re partially responsible for your fall down accident. Claims adjusters may attempt to apportion some blame on you. Your settlement offer or jury verdict could be reduced if your actions contributed to your injuries.

And that’s the other important thing to remember. Ultimately, your good health remains critical. If you didn’t get hurt, you won’t have a case. However, that’s not to say that your injuries won’t surface a few days after the actual accident.

Your fall downstairs could happen anywhere. For example, you could visit a friend in a three-story walk-up apartment and lose your footing because of a missing step. Staircase accidents happen for a variety of reasons, not limited to the following:

  • Broken steps
  • Inadequate handrails
  • Poor lighting
  • Slippery surface
  • Improperly constructed stairs
  • Wet or icy steps

In the meantime, there may be another factor that contributed to your fall down steps. The problem comes when you suffer injuries. No doubt you will have concerns about paying medical bills and how you will heal after the accident.

Property Owners Have Responsibilities

In a sense, premises liability actions are negligence claims. However, there are differences. In a standard negligence claim, the onus is on proving negligent activity caused someone harm. Think of the driver who goes through a red light and collides with another vehicle.

When you fall downstairs, it’s really the conditions of the property that cause you harm. If you pursue a claim, your attorney will work on your behalf to prove:

  • The property owner owed a duty of care to you.
  • The property owner knew or should have known of the existence of dangerous conditions.
  • The property owner failed to maintain or repair the hazardous conditions.
  • You were not warned of the conditions that caused your fall.
  • You were injured as a result of the property owner’s failure of the preceding duties.

You should know that in most circumstances, Pennsylvania Cons. Stat. Title 42 section 5524 imposes a two-year statute of limitation for personal injury lawsuits. However, other time limits may apply depending on your situation.


Fellerman & Ciarimboli represents personal injury victims with compassion and experience. If you or a loved one fell down steps, we would be pleased to evaluate your case. Please call us to schedule a consultation. We do not charge to meet with us and only receive a fee if we recover money on your behalf.

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