Falling Down Stairs: Is it a Personal Injury?

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Carrie Tennick, September 27, 2021

Falling down stairs is a relatively common type of accident. We’ve all likely done it at some point, whether at home or in public.

It can cause a huge range of injuries – from a small bruise to the very worst, including death.

But when are these considered personal injuries? And can you make a compensation claim for them?

When falling down stairs could be a personal injury

If your fall down the stairs happened in public, this could be a personal injury and you could make a compensation claim. Your accident will have to be caused by someone’s negligence, though, to be able to do that.

Your fall could be someone else’s fault if:

  • The bannisters or handrails were loose or unsecured
  • The carpets didn’t fit or were loose or torn
  • The lighting in the stairwell was too dim
  • The stairs were broken
  • The stairs were too smooth and lacked any grip
  • The stairs were wet and there was no warning

Inadequate lighting was responsible for our client Miss P falling down stairs in a cinema and chipping a bone in her foot. We helped her secure £10,000 in compensation to make her recovery easier.

When you’ve fallen down stairs in a public place, you could make an occupiers liability claim. That’s because the occupier of a building, such as a supermarket, gym or restaurant, must ensure the safety of the people visiting it. By not maintaining the stairs, they risk the safety of their visitors. This makes it possible to claim against them if you are injured after a fall down a public flight of stairs.

You could also be able to make an accident at work claim against your employer if you fell at work and their negligence was responsible. This may be an intimidating thought, but you do have legal protections after claiming against an employer. And it may reassure you to know that you’ll claim against their insurer, rather than directly against your employer.

Common injuries from falling down stairs

A 2017 UK study highlighted the fact that “falls down a flight of stairs are known to cause serious injuries”.

It pointed out that a separate study had found that out of 464 people who fell down stairs, 5.6% of them suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Meanwhile, a further 22.4% suffered from broken limbs and 7.4% experienced thoracic injuries. 13% of those 464 people needed to be admitted to hospital. The most common form of injury to people who fell down stairs was to the “distal extremities”, which include hands, fingers, wrists, legs, feet and ankles.

This study found that children and older people are more likely to suffer head injuries. The NHS, meanwhile, said that older people are more likely to fall, with one-third of those over 65 and half of those over 80 having at least one fall a year.

Falling down stairs at home

In general, falling down stairs in your home won’t be considered a personal injury. That’s because it’s unlikely you would be able to hold anyone else responsible. There may be certain exceptions to this rule, though.

For example, if you are a tenant living in a rented home. Your landlord is required to provide a safe space for you to live in. If they don’t, and their negligence has led to you suffering an injury from falling down your stairs, you could be able to make a claim against them. Broken floorboards or steps, badly fitted carpet or inadequate lighting could cause a fall on the stairs at home.

To make a successful claim against your landlord for falling down the stairs, you will have to show that you made them aware of the problem that caused your fall. If they had no knowledge of the issue, they couldn’t have fixed it. This means they are unlikely to be responsible for your accident.

There may be other situations where someone else’s negligence has caused you to fall down the stairs in your home. This could include cases involving faulty products, so if you don’t know whether you could make a claim, it could be worth getting legal advice.

Have you fallen down stairs?

If you’ve suffered an injury from falling down stairs and want to know whether you have a personal injury claim, get in touch.

The team at First4Lawyers will discuss your situation and then let you know if we think you have a claim. If we do, we’ll match you to one of our specialist accident solicitors. They will then work out whether you have a strong chance of a successful claim.

If they do, they will then take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there’s no financial risk to you in making a claim.

So if you think you might have a claim, give us a call or start your claim online.

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