Can I Claim for Falling Down Stairs in a Public Place?

Posted on: 4 mins read
Melanie Burden

Partner, Head of Employer's Liability - Serious Injury

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Falling down stairs is sadly a common occurrence. Some people are not badly injured, however, for others the consequences can be far more serious. But when can you put in a claim to compensate you for your medical treatment, your lost earnings and any other expenses?

Essentially, your accident must have been caused by someone else, be that a person or a company that has been negligent. If you have fallen in a public place, for example a car park, a theatre or in a shop, you can usually claim against whoever the occupier is at that time.  You can also claim against a local authority or housing authority if you have fallen on stairs on their property or against a private home owner if you have fallen down the stairs when visiting somebody.  Whoever is running their business in that place has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of the people visiting their premises. By not maintaining their stairs, they are putting you at risk.

Common reasons for falling down stairs include:

      • the lighting in the stairwell was too dim
      • the stairs were wet and no warning signs were displayed
      • worn carpets
      • the handrails were loose or not present at all
      • loose edging strip on the stairs
      • a hole or defect in the surface of concrete steps
      • ice on steps which have not been gritted

Remember stairs do not have to be inside a building. Many open air shopping centres and entertainment venues have them outside. It is possible to bring a claim if you have suffered an injury on these as well.

If you have been injured by falling down stairs in a public place, contact our Personal Injury Solicitors who can help you get the treatment and compensation you deserve, sometimes on a No Win No Fee basis.

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What if I Suffered a Fall at Work?

You could also trip on the stairs at work. In this case, you could bring a claim for compensation too. Many people worry about this and its repercussions, however there are legal protections in place for this kind of claim and you would be claiming against your employer’s insurers, not the employers themselves.

You can also claim if you have been fallen trying to lift or carry something as part of your job if you have lost your footing or if, for example, the lifting of the object should have been carried out by two or more employees.

Losing your footing whilst carrying an object up or downstairs is a common cause of accidents and employers are under a duty to risk assess any task which requires you to carry objects up or down stairs and take all reasonable steps to avoid or minimise the risk of injury.  Use of a lift would be the best method to avoid the risk but if this is not possible there are devices for safe lifting of persons and also safe lifting of objects such as sack barrows which Employers should put in place to help you.

How Common are Falls on Stairs?

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, over 700 people a year lose their lives in stair related falls and over 43,000 suffer some form of injury

The most common injuries people get when they have fallen are stairs are:

      • broken bones and fractures
      • sprains
      • neck Injuries
      • damage to the face, head and back

Sadly, elderly people are more vulnerable and susceptible to sustaining more serious injuries on falls down the stairs which can result in more serious fractures particularly if you have thinning of the bones.  It can have a significant psychological impact upon the elderly and really knock confidence and result in quite significant care needs. The psychological impact of the accident and the extra care and assistance are something you can claim for.

How Long do I Have to Make a Claim?

You have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim if your accident happened as an adult.  If the accident happened as a child , irrespective of the accident date, you have 3 years from the date you turn age 18 to bring a claim. You will need medical proof of your injuries. If the fall is very recent, we may be able to refer you to an appropriate professional, and if the other party admits blame, we will ask them to cover your medical expenses.

How can I Prove my Accident Wasn’t my Fault?

Proving a case is not always straight forward. If, for example, you fell on stairs that were wet and a warning sign had been displayed, the owner of the building you fell in could argue that they had done everything they reasonably could to warn you of the danger. Again, if you were carrying an item down a stairwell and you fell, not as a result of the stairs but as a result of mishandling the item, it could be argued that the owner of the stairwell is not to blame.

If you are the victim of a stair-related accident, it’s important that you gather as much information as possible at the time.

      • Write down the details of the accident as soon as you can and if possible, take photos or videos of the area in question.
      • Keep a record of any medical treatment you must have, as well as any receipts you acquire when you have had to use public transport to get to appointments.
      • Get the details of any witnesses who saw what happened to you.

All this information could be key evidence we can use when making a compensation claim for you.

Our team of expert Personal Injury Lawyers have many helped people like you make a claim for falling down stairs. We can guide you through the process ensuring you get the medical treatment you need, any changes you need to your property because of your fall, compensation for loss of earnings and other expenses.  Get in touch today for a free assessment of your claim.

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