Faulty Handrails and Stairwells
When you go onto someone else's property or onto public property, you do not expect to get hurt. Unfortunately, not all property owners take seriously their duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors. One type of dangerous property condition concerns faulty handrails and stairwells. A faulty handrail or stairwell can cause a huge spill, sometimes from a great height, and result in catastrophic injuries. If you have been hurt on another party’s property, you can contact the Los Angeles premises liability lawyers at Sharifi Firm to explore your options.Holding a Property Owner Accountable for a Faulty Handrail or Stairwell
A California accident victim claiming damages under a theory of premises liability must prove that the defendant owned, occupied, leased, or controlled the property where the accident occurred, the defendant was negligent in maintaining the property, the plaintiff was hurt, and the defendant's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's injuries.
All property owners owe a duty to visitors to exercise reasonable care in managing their premises so that visitors are not exposed to an unreasonable risk of getting hurt. This means that property owners and occupiers owe an affirmative duty to those who come onto their property to control the property so that it is reasonably safe. When a property owner or occupier fails to meet this duty, it likely will be considered negligent.
However, the extent of the duty of care varies depending on the circumstances, and especially on the status of the visitor to the property. For example, storeowners that invite people to shop in their stores owe a significant duty to inspect the handrails and stairwells to make sure they are safe for customers. A storeowner that fails to put in place a procedure for making sure the handrails and stairwells are safe for customers may be found negligent if a customer leans against a broken handrail and falls, breaking bones or suffering other catastrophic injuries.
In contrast, a reclusive homeowner is not likely to be considered negligent for failing to inspect all the handrails in a large home in case a trespasser or burglar comes through the home and falls due to a faulty handrail. However, the homeowner cannot create a trap by purposely breaking a handrail to catch trespassers and burglars.
An issue that often comes up in connection with accidents related to faulty handrails or stairwells is whether the defendant knew or should have known about the defect. Sometimes a defendant regularly inspects the property but fails to see a faulty handrail. In that case, it will only be responsible if it should have known about the problem. Whether a defendant should know about a particular property defect depends in many cases on how long a defect existed. If multiple customers noticed the faulty handrail for a long period of time, or there is surveillance footage showing other customers noticing a faulty handrail, it is likely that a jury would find that the defendant should have known about it.Explore Your Options with a Los Angeles Lawyer after a Slip and Fall
If you are injured due to a faulty handrail or stairwell, you may be able to pursue compensation from the property owner, occupant, or leaseholder. The slip and fall attorneys at Sharifi Firm can assert the rights of victims in Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California, including in Temecula, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga. Contact us via our online form or call us at (866) 422-7222 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated attorney.