Falls that occur on stairs often lead to significant injuries for those involved. In some cases, falls occur due to the negligent actions of property owners. But what happens if a person falls on stairs in a public area? Who would be responsible for paying compensation to the victim if they fell due to a hazardous condition on or around the stairs?
Public Areas and Stair Falls
Public spaces are typically defined as any area open to the general public. What we will generally find is that public spaces are either controlled by private individuals or entities or by a government entity. Public spaces may also have a wide variety of types of stairs. This can include a few stairs leading up to a building, stairs going up a hill, or stairs in a publicly accessible building.
Stairway injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. In many cases, these incidents happen due to the careless or negligent actions of the property owner or operator. This can include:
- Wet surfaces on or around the stairway
- Stairs that have not been properly maintained or repaired
- A lack of handrails on the stairs
- Inadequate lighting in the stairwell or on the stairs
- A lack of grip material on the stairs
- Inadequate spacing between each stair
This is certainly not a complete list of the ways that falls can occur on stairs in public places. However, regardless of how a stairway fall occurs, these incidents can lead to severe injuries. This includes broken or dislocated bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, internal organ damage, lacerations or puncture wounds, and more. Reach out to a Philadelphia injury lawyer today.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you have been injured on property controlled by a private entity but open to the public, then you may need to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. In these cases, your claim must be filed within two years from the date the incident occurs, and you will have to prove various elements of negligence. Speak to a slip and fall lawyer in Philadelphia to learn more.
First, you will have to show that the property owner owed you a duty of care, which will likely be the case if you were lawfully in the area when the incident occurred. You will then have to show that the property owner somehow breached their duty of care, which can include failing to maintain the stairway or failing to warn individuals about potential hazards. It will then need to be shown that this breach of duty led to the injuries and that there was some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident.
Filing a Claim Against a Government Entity in Pennsylvania
Filing a personal injury claim against a government entity in Pennsylvania is different than the process of filing a claim against a private entity. In the Commonwealth, it is possible to file a personal injury claim against a government entity or employee who causes an injury due to their negligence well on the job.
It is important to note that injury victims must file their claim against the respective government entity within 180 days from the day the incident occurs. Claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be made through the Pennsylvania Sovereign Immunity Act, and claims against any other type of government entity (municipal, city, or county governments) are made through the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.