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Unsafe Stairs & Premises Liability

Unsafe Stairs & Premises Liability

The option to take the stairs is a task you may encounter every day, but who is at fault if someone were to become injured due to unsafe or dangerous stairs on property that is not their own?  Here we will explain the law and the legal options available to the injured party.

Stair Fall AccidentsFor starters, to be legally responsible for injuries sustained from slipping and falling on property owned by another individual or company (premises liability), one of the following must have happened:

  • The owner of the facility or an employee of the company caused the stairs to become dangerous (spills, damage, etc).
  • The owner of the facility or an employee knew of a possible dangerous surface on the stairs and did nothing about it.
  • The owner of the facility or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface on the stairs, as it is their duty as an employee of the company to discover, remove and repair it.

Slippery surfaces from worn-down carpet or wood that makes the “run” part of a stair dangerous, as well as over-polished wooden stairs.  Wet or icy outdoor stairs can also increase the likelihood of a slip, trip and fall accident occurring.  Building code violations are an obvious point of liability for the premises owner. Handrails are code requirements for certain types of stairs, and if you fall on stairs that should have had a handrail, the property owner may be held liable for injuries.  In addition, handrails installed at the wrong height can also lead to a premises liability accident.

Improper stair height (or depth) may also contribute to a slip and fall accident. Your attorney must check all applicable building codes for stair requirements.  If either the “riser” or “run” of each step is in violation of the code, the stairs are deemed as defective.  Building codes also regulate the maximum variance from one step to another (or the differences permitted in the height or depth of one step to another).  This is important because our mind remembers how far the last step was, and will automatically tell our legs to move the same distance the next step.  If the step is even slightly off, one could lose balance and fall.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a stair fall accident, please contact the attorneys at 1-800-ATTORNEY.

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