How is liability determined when someone falls down the stairs?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Blog, Slip And Fall Accidents |

Falling down the stairs in a New York City building can leave you with devastating injuries. It’s important to know how liability is determined in this type of case.

What is the liability for a slip and fall accident?

If a person falls down the stairs on someone else’s property and suffers an injury, there are certain criteria that must be in place to prove premises liability on the owner’s part. They include the following:

  • The property owner failed to keep outdoor stairs clear of snow or ice, which could clearly pose risks of danger to anyone walking on them.
  • The property owner knew that the stairs were in disrepair or slippery and posed a serious risk of someone falling.
  • The property owner knew that they should have taken measures to maintain safe conditions on the stairs and should have closed them off or placed warning signs or cones around them.

In some cases, a person might be responsible for their own accident on a flight of stairs. For example, if a person is not paying attention to where they’re going because they’re too busy staring at their smartphone and tripped, the property owner would not be held liable. In that situation, the only exception would be if the stairs were in poor condition or slippery. The property owner and the injured person would share responsibility.

What is the duty of care owed to the public?

Buildings must be up to code according to local property laws. Owners have a duty of care to ensure that the property, including stairs, are kept free of unsafe conditions whether that involves disrepair, slippery surfaces or obstacles.

If a person falls down the stairs and suffers a personal injury, it means the property owner breached that duty of care.