There are many reasons why serious stairway falls may occur. Sometimes there are hidden dangers, such as a broken step, a displaced object, or improperly sized steps, from which a fall results. If you are severely injured in a stairway fall on someone else's property in East Tennessee, you may be able to recover compensation from the owner or occupier of the property by filing a premises liability lawsuit. It may be challenging to establish all of the elements of a premises liability claim, especially if the property owner fixes the dangerous condition that caused your accident. Therefore, it is crucial to retain Knoxville premises liability lawyer Mark Hartsoe as soon as possible after an accident to preserve important evidence and bring a claim.Pursuing Compensation for a Stairway Fall
Generally, you will need to establish one of three different situations to hold a property owner or business accountable for a stairway fall. In the first situation, you will need to prove that the owner of the property created the dangerous condition on the stairs that caused your fall. For example, if an owner purposely knocked out a portion of the stair in order to install new wood and then invited visitors onto the property without warning them about it, the owner likely would be legally responsible for any injuries.
In the second situation, you would need to establish that the owner or business knew about a dangerous condition but failed to repair it or issue warnings. For example, if the manager of a mall knew that the handrail of a stairway had come loose but failed to call a repair person to fix it, and then you slipped because the handrail was loose and fell down the stairs, the manager's knowledge probably would be imputed to the mall owner. The mall would then be responsible.
Often, actual knowledge is hard to prove. In the third situation, if you establish that the owner or business occupying the property should have known about the dangerous condition that caused your fall, you may be able to recover compensation. This is known as constructive knowledge. Generally, it is more likely that constructive knowledge will be found if a dangerous condition has existed so long that a reasonable owner or business would have discovered it. For example, if a handrail was loose for two weeks, it is likely that someone would have reported it to management or that someone working for the company would have noticed it. On the other hand, if the handrail was only loose for a few hours, it might not have caught anyone's attention, even if the business was reasonably attentive.
Often, a defendant property owner or business will assert a defense of comparative negligence in a premises liability case. A jury will need to evaluate all of the facts and determine not only whether the owner or business is liable but also whether a victim’s own negligence contributed to an accident. For example, the court may consider evidence that you were not looking where you were going. It is important to consult knowledgeable Knoxville attorney Mark Hartsoe before talking to an insurer for a property owner after a slip and fall.Contact Knoxville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe for Your Premises Liability Case
If you were hurt in a stairway fall on someone else's property, you should consult experienced Knoxville premises liability attorney Mark Hartsoe. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to set up your free appointment. Hartsoe represents people who need an injury attorney throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, and Jefferson Counties.