Slipping on Public Staircases: Crucial Steps to Take If You’re Injured

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By Marcus Fernandez

Someone falling down staircases in movies may be entertaining, but the results in real life can be devastating. Staircase slip-and-falls account for millions of people requiring treatment in hospital emergency departments for their injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.

You may have recourse against the commercial or government property owner when slipping on a stairway results in injuries. Below is a guide to Florida premises liability law. This will provide the information you need to know your rights to obtain compensation when slipping and falling on a staircase causes injuries.

Proving a property owner was at fault

If you slip and fall on a public staircase, expect the liability insurance company for the property owner to respond to a claim for compensation. They do this by blaming your carelessness for causing the fall. Your Tampa personal injury attorney must prove the following to hold a property owner responsible for your injuries.

  • The property owner had a duty of care: The owner of a staircase open to the public must take reasonable measures to prevent harm to people using it. 
  • There was a breach of the duty of care: The evidence presented by your lawyer must prove a failure of the property owner to act reasonably by keeping the stairway in good repair. Florida property owners can be liable for failing to correct dangerous conditions they knew or should have known about.
  • The breach of duty caused injuries: Proving injuries can be accomplished with medical records provided you seek medical attention immediately and report the accident to the building owner or manager. Any delay creates doubt about whether the accident happened.
  • Proof that you suffered financial losses: Medical and employment records make it easy to prove that you incurred expenses and lost wages due to the fall. However, you must seek medical care immediately. This will show a connection between the accident and the injuries noted by a physician in the medical records.

Proving that a property owner was negligent requires evidence. The attorney handling your claim will thoroughly investigate the accident to prove the staircase was unsafe. They will look into a loose or missing handrail, poor lighting, uneven steps, or other dangerous conditions.

How long do you have to claim compensation?

If you injured yourself on a public staircase, you have only two years from the accident to claim compensation. The governor last year signed an amendment to the statute of limitations law in Florida. This shortened the time to sue for damages from slipping on a public staircase from four years to only two.

The change in Florida’s statute of limitations makes it essential to act quickly to exercise your right to seek compensation from a negligent building owner. Consulting with a Tampa personal injury attorney immediately after an accident is essential for another reason.

If you fell on a staircase under the control of the state or a local governmental agency, Florida law requires that your personal injury lawyer file a written notice of claim with the government entity that you want to hold responsible for the fall and the injuries that you suffered. You cannot file a lawsuit until a 180-day investigation period concludes. This is to allow the government entity to look into the circumstances of the claim.

Claims for injuries caused by a fall on a staircase under the control of a state or local government entity in Florida are complicated. So, it’s essential to consult with a Tampa personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible. State law sets time limits for serving the notice upon the state or local government. By consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can safeguard your claim and avoid missing important deadlines

Talk to a Tampa injury lawyer 

If slipping on a public staircase causes you to be injured, talk to a personal injury lawyer about your right to receive compensation. Contact KFB Law today for a free consultation to learn about your rights and the best way to pursue them against a negligent property owner.