Were you injured on the steps of your apartment building or rental property due to a step railing defect? Did your family member or loved one pass away from a defective handrail accident? If the cause of the accident was negligence by the landlord or property manager, you may have the right to seek justice through a personal injury lawsuit. According to California’s premises liability laws, property owners – including landlords – must ensure the safety of their property at all times. This includes inspections and maintenance of the premises and resolving any issues that can lead to an accident.
We can review the details of your accident and advise you of the losses you are eligible to receive. Damages from a personal injury or wrongful death claim include:
- Cost of medical treatments
- Rehabilitative services (physical therapy and mental health counseling)
- Future medical costs / lifetime care costs
- Lost wages / lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of expected savings
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of benefits, such as healthcare, inheritance, and pension funds
- Property damage
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
To speak with a lawyer experienced in step and staircase accidents, contact DTLA Law Group to schedule a free consultation.
Step – Stair Railing Defects
Handrails are supposed to keep you from falling as you go up and down the stairs. There are many steps and staircases within an apartment building or complex, so there is great potential for injuries if these railings are deficient in any way. Apartment step railing defects can be caused by:
- Damaged railings from wear and tear, or weather conditions for outdoor railings
- Loose handrails due to old age or improper installation
- Missing handrails or missing portions of railings
- Handrails with slippery surfaces, which provide insufficient traction
- Railing that’s too low or too high
- Step railings that are too wide / thick, making them hard to grasp
- Railing that’s too close to the wall, making it impossible to grasp
- Failure to clear snow and ice off of outdoor railings
This is not a comprehensive list, but it goes to show the many ways that step railings can be defective at an apartment or rental property. In the next section, we will talk about common injuries that you can sustain if you fall due to a defective railing.
Defective Handrail Injuries
Injuries from a railing defect can cause serious health issues that remain long after the initial injury has healed. When we investigate one of these cases, we look at much more than the immediate harm that’s been inflicted on the victim. Future medical expenses, mental anguish, and long-term financial / emotional losses are all relevant factors when a victim suffers from the following:
Broken bones / fractures
Falling down a set of steps or stairs can easily result in broken bones and fractures throughout your body. Bones in the hands, feet, arms, and legs, are especially vulnerable, along with the collarbone and ribs.
Hip fractures are extremely serious injuries, especially for the elderly. Immediate hospitalization is required, as well as surgery, physical therapy, and possibly a hip replacement. Please get help right away if you believe your hip has been fractured. Without medical intervention, the mortality rate from a hip fracture is 70%. But even with surgery, around 21% of injury victims with hip fractures die within a year of their accident.
A blow to the head is very common when you fall, especially if your head hits one or more steps on the way down. Concussions and traumatic brain injury can cause all sorts of health complications, including headaches, severe mood swings, personality changes, and cognitive impairment. In the most serious cases, the patient may end up in a coma or die from the severity of the impact.
Neck / spinal cord damage
Damage to the neck, vertebrae, spinal cord, and spinal column can cause permanent disability, so please seek medical attention immediately if you’ve injured your neck or back from a step railing accident. These injuries can be serious enough to cause paralysis if you move your head or neck. Thus, we recommend calling for an ambulance to prevent the risk of permanent damage.
Damage to the internal organs
A traumatic blow to certain parts of the body can cause rupturing of the internal organs, such as your spleen, lungs, and kidneys. Another type of organ damage occurs when a broken bone punctures an internal organ. Both these injuries cause internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening.
These injuries are very common in fall-related accidents, where the victim ends up with cuts and abrasions. Cuts, in particular, can lead to heavy scarring, which can be incredibly traumatic if they’re on highly visible areas of the body. Additionally, heavy scar tissue can limit mobility in areas like the hands and feet. As a result, plastic surgery may be needed to remove the tissue and graft the area with new skin.
Can I Sue for an Apartment Step Railing Defect?
Yes, you can sue for an apartment step railing accident if it was caused by your landlord’s negligence, or negligence by the management company. These entities have a duty of care to the tenants, visitors, and guests that are on their property. Thus, if there is a defective step railing that leads to an accident, they are generally liable for the victim’s injuries. To establish your right to a lawsuit, you must prove:
- The landlord knew, or should have known, of a hazardous condition on the property, such as a worn out or broken handrail.
- You, as a renter or legitimate visitor / guest on the premises, were owed a duty of care by the landlord.
- The owner / manager of the property breached their duty of care by failing to resolve the hazard, which led to your accident.
- Due to the owner’s negligence, you are owed monetary damages for your physical and mental injuries.
Sometimes, a party other than the landlord may be responsible for a step railing accident. For example, a handrail may be defective due to issues with the product, which would be the manufacturer’s fault. Another party that may be at fault is the company that installed the handrail. If a contractor used insufficient hardware, inexperienced workers, unsafe installation methods, etc., they can also be sued if someone is harmed from a step railing defect.
Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to determine who is responsible for your injuries. If you have been harmed in a step or staircase railing accident, call us immediately to learn about your legal options.
Statute of Limitations to File a Lawsuit
If you are seeking compensation for a stair railing injury, the deadline to file your lawsuit is two years from the accident date. Alternatively, you have two years from the date you discover an injury from the accident. If you haven’t done so already, please contact a lawyer immediately to get started on an injury claim. The courts are very strict about the statute of limitations for a personal injury case. If you miss the deadline to file your lawsuit, it will be extremely difficult to obtain compensation, even if there is a clear case of negligence by the landlord or management company.
Average Case Value for a Defective Railing Injury
The injuries from these accidents are similar to those we see in trip and fall and slip and fall accidents. Statistics show that fall-related accidents are a leading cause of severe, life-threatening injuries. As a result, these cases are worth around $150,000 to $450,000 on average. Of course, claims with minor injuries are worth less – probably in the $25,000 to $50,000 range.
Permanent injury and wrongful death cases have the highest values. These claims include future losses, like medical expenses, lifetime care costs, and loss of expected wages. Depending on your age, earnings at the time of the accident, and various other factors, compensation for these accidents can total $1 million or more.
How long do these Cases take to Settle?
Once we submit an injury claim on your behalf, the insurance company will review our demands and make a settlement offer. If they’re willing to play fair and there are no unexpected complications, you may receive payment in just a few months. Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies are extremely busy, and it can take 3 to 6 weeks on average to hear back from them. Thus, negotiating a settlement can take up to a year, perhaps 18 months if you have very serious injuries. In the event the insurance company acts in bad faith, or we cannot agree on a fair settlement, you can proceed with a lawsuit, which may take around 2 or more years to settle.
I have a Pending Injury Case – Can I Change my Lawyer?
Trust in your attorney’s abilities is critical to succeeding in a personal injury case. Unfortunately, some injury victims end up with lawyers who are not invested in their case. Maybe you disagree with your attorney’s valuation of your claim, or it’s taking too long to settle your lawsuit. Your disappointment may have led you to ask, “Can I switch my lawyer?”
You have the right to change your legal representative at any point, but it’s a good idea to get a second opinion when it comes to such an important decision. The experts at our law firm will discuss the issues you are having and advise you of the options that are available to you. Perhaps continuing your case with our law firm is right for you, or it’s best to stay with your current law firm. Either way, there is no cost to you for the second opinion, so contact our office to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
Contact the Attorneys of DTLA
We know what a strain it can be on your finances when you’re trying to heal from an accident. As a victim of someone else’s negligence, you should not have to decide between legal fees and basic living expenses. That’s why we provide free legal services for our clients, as a promise under the Zero fee guarantee. You pay nothing upfront to retain us, nor will you pay us a single penny while we work on your case. All our expenses are paid by the defendant, and that’s only if we win your case. Thus, you have nothing to lose, no matter the outcome.
There is a limited amount of time to take action against the party that has harmed you, so don’t delay in giving us a call. We look forward to advising you and fighting for the compensation you deserve.