Handrail near steps at an apartment complex

Apartment complex owners and managers are responsible for maintaining the property. They owe residents and guests a duty of care, which includes ensuring that stair railings are secure and in good repair to prevent dangerous falls.

The Danger of Broken Stair Railings

Secure handrails can help prevent falls down the stairs. Local building codes require handrails to prevent dangerous falls. When a rail is missing, loose, installed at the wrong height, or otherwise broken, a person could lose their balance and take a serious fall.

Some of the injuries that may result from a fall down the stairs include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and other back injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Broken bones, including but not limited to spinal fractures, hip fractures, broken arms or legs, and broken ribs
  • Wrist injuries
  • Ankle injuries
  • Dislocation injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Severe sprains and strains

Who Was Responsible for Your Fall?

Residents and guests are not responsible for maintaining the common areas in apartment complexes. Instead, the following parties have a duty of care to protect residents and visitors from potentially dangerous conditions:

  • The property owner. The property owner has a duty to identify and fix dangerous conditions or to designate someone to do this on their behalf.
  • The property manager. Property managers, or their designees, should identify broken handrails, warn residents and guests of the broken handrail until repairs can be made, and repair or replace broken handrails as quickly as possible.
  • The person or business that did the repairs. Anyone who repairs or replaces the handrails has a duty to use reasonable care to make sure the handrail is safe and up to building code. The repairs should make sure the handrails are secure, have sufficient grip, and are at the appropriate height, for example.

Before you can recover damages in an apartment stair fall accident, you must identify the parties responsible for your accident. Then, you must gather evidence to convince the insurance company or the court of the defendant’s liability. Critical evidence may include:

  • Photos or video of the stairs and railing
  • Testimony from witnesses who saw you fall or who were on the stairs shortly before or after your fall
  • Property maintenance records
  • Medical records

The property owner, manager, and repair company owed you a duty of care if you lived in the apartment building or were an invited guest to the apartment complex. If they failed to identify a dangerous railing within a reasonable amount of time, failed to warn you of the danger, or failed to fix the railing within a reasonable amount of time and you fell and get hurt as a result, then you may recover legal compensation.

Protect the Fall Injury Compensation You Deserve

Damages can add up quickly following a fall down the stairs. You may incur past and future:

  • Medical costs for things such as ambulance rides, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors’ visits, medications, physical therapy, medications, and other healthcare needs
  • Lost income including wages, benefits, bonuses, raises, and income from self-employment if you are out of work, working fewer hours, or working a job for less pay because of your injuries
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Out-of-pocket costs for all of your other accident-related damages

You did not cause your injury, and if you were visiting a friend or relative, they did not cause your injury. However, if you fail to take legal action to protect your compensation, you will be stuck with the financial consequences of your fall.

Contact Our Milwaukee Slip and Fall Lawyer for a Free Consult

Accordingly, we encourage you to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We will investigate what happened to you, identify the proper defendants, value your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and, if necessary, take your case to court.

Hupy and Abraham has helped more than 70,000 clients recover more than $1 billion so far, and we are here to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation in any of our 11 offices located throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, or we can meet with you by video conference or phone or in your home or hospital room.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.