Falls are consistently among the most common causes of injuries throughout the Chicagoland area. When serious, the injuries caused by falls can often require emergency medical treatment, and may even leave victims with long-term medical problems and life-altering disabilities. When injury-causing falls occur on dangerous stairs, however, victims may recover compensation for any losses they sustain as a result of their accidents.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand how profoundly a serious fall down the stairs can damage a person’s life, and we are committed to helping victims obtain the compensation to which Illinois law entitles them. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys, contact us online or call our office at (312) 924-7575.
When Can People Recover Compensation for Falls on Stairs?
Just as with other accidents, to entitle you to compensation for a fall on dangerous stairs, you must establish that your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence. Property owners have duties to take reasonable steps to keep their properties in a safe conditions, particularly when they have invited the general public to it, as is the case with places where people shop, eat, drink, or otherwise engage in commercial activity. Dangerous conditions, with respect to stairwells, that could indicate negligence on the part of a property owner or leaseholder include:
- Missing or broken handrails
- Inadequate lighting
- Uneven stairs
- Liquid spills
- Accumulations of snow or ice
- Torn carpets
- Uneven risers
- Missing or inadequate non-slip nosings
In addition to problems with the condition of the stairs themselves, the way that a stairwell was designed possibly makes it inherently dangerous for everyone who uses it. In such a case, you could possibly hold the person or party who designed the stairs liable for any resulting injuries. Similarly, if stairs were poorly manufactured or made with substandard materials, accident victims may initiate legal action against the party responsible for the construction of the stairs or the manufacturing of the materials.
Falls on Dangerous Stairs Can Cause Extremely Serious Injuries
Stairs are a particularly dangerous place to lose your footing, because the force of gravity can cause you to fall down multiple stairs, potentially causing injuries with each impact. As a result, many people who fall on dangerous stairs sustain injuries that require medical treatments and can cause issues for significant periods of time after their accidents actually took place. Serious injuries that people can sustain in stairwell falls include:
Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries, which are sometimes referred to simply as “TBIs,” can occur during stairwell falls if a person’s head hits a stair, the wall, a handrail, or another object with sufficient force. Mild TBIs such as concussions can leave victims with headaches, dizziness, and sensitivity to light or sounds that can last for months. More serious brain injuries have the potential to result in long-term disabilities that can destroy a person’s ability to earn a living or perform daily tasks without significant assistance.
Broken bones – Many victims of falls on stairs suffer broken bones that are extremely painful and even disfiguring. In many cases, broken bones require weeks or months to heal and can result in victims requiring surgeries and rehabilitative treatments.
Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can cause muscle weakness, numbness, loss of range of motion, and even paralysis below the site of the injury.
Your injuries do not have to be as severe as the ones listed above to entitle you to compensation. People who sustain injuries like bruises, dislocations, sprains, cuts, or strains are often able to obtain a significant settlement or award, so do not make the mistake of thinking that your injuries are too minor to warrant speaking to an attorney.
Protect Your Rights After a Fall Down the Stairs
Unfortunately for victims, compensation after serious accidents does not happen automatically, and you should take steps to protect your rights after you fall down dangerous stairs. These include:
- Make note of the hazardous condition that caused your fall and take pictures of it if possible
- Try and get contact information from anyone who may have seen your accident
- If your accident occurred on commercial property, notify management and make sure that someone creates an official incident report
- Refrain from posting about your accident on social media
- Do not provide someone else’s insurance company with a written or recorded statement
- Undergo a through medical evaluation and do everything your doctor recommends
- Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
In addition, keep in mind that all personal injury claims in Illinois are subject to a statute of limitations, which means that waiting too long to file a claim could result in an inability to recover compensation at all.
Call Abels & Annes Today to Speak With a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a serious accident involving dangerous or defective stairs, contact a lawyer as soon as you can. The lawyers of Abels & Annes, P.C., will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and let you know whether we believe you have a claim. Furthermore, because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingent-fee basis, you will not owe us anything for legal representation unless we recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.