Stairs can be a common site for accidents to occur. Whether you are visiting a hotel, restaurant, department store, or friends in their home, the property owner has a duty to keep the premises safe, including stairs and stairwells. Our determined slip and fall attorneys at Lowenthal and Abrams are familiar with these accidents and can work with you as you seek compensation for your injuries.

Failure to keep stairwells in a safe condition can lead to a premises liability lawsuit if someone is injured. After a stairwell accident in Philadelphia, the first call you must make is for medical help. The second call should be to our experienced team who can advise you about your legal journey and help you during this difficult time.

Risk Factors That Promote Stairwell Injuries

Many people may think that tumbling down a set of stairs is solely caused by people who misstep or misjudge the depth of a stair. However, there could be several other reasons why stairwell injuries happen. Some of them fault the injured party, but many of them also fault negligent owners. Some examples of causes that place the owner at fault include:

  • Uneven stairs
  • No handrails
  • Buckled carpeting
  • Stair risers that are too high
  • Poor or non-existent lighting
  • Slippery, wet stairs or landings
  • Stairs cluttered with toys or debris

Philadelphia requires property owners to design, install, and maintain stairwells that comply with the city’s building codes to prevent accidents. When they fail to do so, our experienced attorneys can help prove negligence in a case so that compensation is just.

Comparative Negligence

Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state that follows the 51 percent rule, which is codified in Pennsylvania General Assembly Statute § 7102. As long as the injured party is not more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries, they can collect a monetary award from the defendant, which will be reduced by the injured person’s percentage of fault.

This means a $1,000,000 damages award would be reduced to $600,000 if the jury decides the person is 40 percent at fault and the defendant 60 percent.

Understanding the Fair Share Act

As a companion to the comparative negligence statute, the state enacted the Fair Share Act, which is effective when an individual with injuries is suing more than one defendant for an accident that involves comparative negligence.

For example, the injured person is visiting a friend in a downtown Philadelphia apartment building and falls down the stairwell because it is unlit and littered with debris, and the individual ignored the handrail and descended the steps two at a time. In this scenario, the person can sue the manager, maintenance person, and the three owners of the building. The Fair Share Act apportions blame between the person with injuries and all defendants, and no defendant will have to pay more than the share of blame the jury assigns to them. Exceptions apply, and our attorneys could provide more details as they apply to a case.

Let Our Attorneys Advocate for You After a Philadelphia Stairwell Accident

You are entitled to feel safe when visiting property owned by someone else, whether you are making a social call or conducting business that will benefit the owner. When climbing or descending stairs is part of your visit, owners must comply with the state’s building codes. The codes promote uniform design and installation, but also maintenance once stairs are in place.

When you are injured because the property owner failed to keep stairs maintained, free of debris, and well-lit, we can advocate for you. When negligence is established, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and loss of the enjoyment of life. Stairwell accidents in Philadelphia can be debilitating but our attorneys at Lowenthal and Abrams can see you through the ordeal. Call us today so we can talk through your case with you.


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