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Broken Step Injuries in Houston

Stairs can be dangerous, and it is easy to trip on a broken stair, fall, and suffer injuries. If this has happened to you while you were on someone else’s property, contact a local premises liability attorney immediately.

The property owner could be liable for broken step injuries in Houston if they failed to notice, repair, or warn of the defect. A legal professional could review the circumstances and, if the owner’s negligence caused your accident, hold them liable for your losses.

Owner’s Responsibility to Maintain Safe Premises

Property owners must take reasonable steps to keep their premises safe for people with permission to enter. The extent of an owner’s responsibility changes depending on the reason the visitor entered the property.

A business owner or someone who invites the public to enter has the greatest responsibility. Someone who suffers injuries from broken steps in a business or public place must prove the owner should have known of the hazard and corrected it or at least posted a warning.

Proving owner negligence depends on the circumstances of the fall. For example, if the fall happened on an outdoor step in wet weather, the owner’s responsibility might be less than if it happened indoors in a high traffic area. An owner can do little to prevent a step from becoming slippery in the rain. On the other hand, if visitors are using a stairway daily, a responsible owner would check it frequently to assess wear or damage.

Finding Evidence of Owner Negligence

Proving an owner is negligent requires showing that they knew or should have known of the defect that caused the accident. A Houston attorney could investigate an incident to determine whether there was cause for the owner to repair a broken stair or post a warning.

For example, a legal professional could subpoena accident reports from the business to determine whether others had fallen in the same place. They could seek copies of work orders from the maintenance department to find out whether anyone had ordered an inspection or repair of the steps.

A review of the local building codes could be worthwhile. Building codes are often specific about whether a stair requires a handrail and, if so, at what height. They also usually specify a range for the height of a stair’s rise and the depth of the run. If the steps did not adhere to the code, it is evidence of negligence. A property owner or business operator is likely at least partially liable for the customer’s injuries.

Applying Proportionate Responsibility to Stair Injuries

When a stair is broken or defective, and a visitor gets hurt in a fall on the stair, the premise owner is usually liable if they should have known of the defect. However, the injured person’s conduct is also an issue.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001 prevents anyone more than 50 percent responsible for an accident from collecting damages from others involved. Obviously, this law gives property owners and their insurers an incentive to blame an injured person for their accident. An insurance company might claim the injured person was to blame if the accident happened while they were:

  • Hurrying
  • Wearing wet footwear or high heels
  • Engaged in conversation
  • Using their phone
  • Carrying something heavy or awkward that affected their balance
  • Impaired by alcohol

An insurance company is likely to blame the victim if they were doing anything other than directing 100 percent of their attention on the stair in front of them.

An experienced Houston broken step injury attorney could anticipate this response and counter it. Stairs can be dangerous, and owners are responsible for keeping them as safe as possible. Any evidence that the owner knew or should have known of the damaged stair could be sufficient to overcome the injured person’s behavior, even if they were not paying as close attention as they should have been.

Contact a Houston Attorney if You Were Hurt on Damaged Stairs

If you were hurt on a broken step or defective staircase, the property or business owner might be liable for your injuries. Broken step injuries in Houston could cause significant pain, inconvenience, and expense, and you should not have to bear the burden alone. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

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