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Toll-free: (877) 944-8396

White and Williams LLP

Practice Areas

Stairway Injuries and Defects in Stairs

Stairway accidents are much more common that people realize. These kinds of accidents can occur for a number of reasons, the most common reasons include failure to maintain the material covering stairs, such as carpet, wear strips, etc. However, these kinds of accidents can also result from internal problems with the stairs, such as structural problems. For example, water damage and resulting mold growth may weaken the base of a stairway over time, resulting in significant collapse when an innocent person walks on them. Stairway failure accidents in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area can lead to devastating injuries, such as career ending traumatic brain injuries. Often times, the liable party will be a landlord, commercial or residential.

Landlords Have a Duty To Inspect For Hidden Dangers

Tenants of residential and commercial buildings are business invitees when they are in common areas, like a hallway, stairway, or parking lot. Property owners owe the highest duty of care, including the duty to inspect for hidden dangers to business invitees. Argo v. Goodstein, 438 Pa. 468, 265 A.2d 783 (1970). This duty extends to a tenant's employees, customers and guests.

In order to succeed in these kinds of cases, the injured victim must prove notice-that the owner knew or should have known of the defect. This is usually accomplished by showing actual notice (i.e., prior incident or prior complaint) or constructive notice (i.e. failure to conduct reasonable inspections). In some instances, when the owner's negligence causes a fall hazard to exist, the injured victim does not have to prove notice to make out a prima facie case. Farrell v. Bonner, 424 Pa. 301, 227 A.2d 683 (1967); Porro v. Century III Associates, 846 A.2d 1282 (PA Super. 2004).

 


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Our Offices

  • Philadelphia (*Primary)
  • 1650 Market Street, Suite 1800
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
  • Phone: (215) 864-7168
  • Toll Free: (877) 944-8396
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  • Cherry Hill
  • 457 Haddonfield Road
    Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
  • Phone: (856) 317-3600
  • Toll Free: (877) 944-8396
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