Personal Injury Law

Stairways and Steps: Do You have a Hidden Slip and Fall Hazard on Your Hands

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A slip and fall accident that occurs on a stairway or steps can result in serious injuries. While you likely know that steps come with inherent dangers that aren’t present on level surfaces, there are some dangers that may be less than obvious. If you own a home or other property, then you may be held liable for stair related slip and fall accidents.

The Hidden Dangers of Steps

As time passes, steps may become worn because of heavy use. Worn down wood and threadbare carpet are common stair hazards that are often overlooked or ignored. The “run” of the step, which is the horizontal part where the foot lands, is often especially slippery. Also, high polished materials, such as tile or wood may have significantly less traction than painted wood, stone or carpet.

When is a Property Owner Liable?

If you own property with steps or staircases you have to be careful. If it is discovered that a slip and fall accident occurred because an anti-slip surface was passed over due to aesthetics, then the owner may be held liable. It is also necessary for the property owner to clearly mark any loose tiles or torn carpet on the steps and have them replaced as quickly as possible. Also, stairways need to remain clear at all times and all damage and cracks should be marked or repaired right away.

Meeting the Requirements

Property owners and builders are required to follow the stair guidelines that are stipulated in the state’s building codes. The building codes outline the minimum and maximum measurements for the horizontal and vertical part of each of the steps, which is known as the riser and run. Some violations, such as improper depth or an uneven stair height, may result in serious, injury causing slip and fall accidents.

Preventing Accidents on Your Property

If you want to take steps to prevent slip and fall injuries on steps and staircases, one of the best things you can do is to install handrails. There are some building codes that even stipulate the particular measurement requirements for these handrails. When a person is ascending or descending the stairs, they should hold on to them to help maintain their balance. However, if a person attempts to use a handrail that isn’t the right height may cause the person to fall, even if there are no other issues with the stairs. This is another situation when the property owner may be held liable.

When a slip and fall accident occurs on a stairway or steps, it is imperative for the victim to seek legal representation. Determining fault in these situations can be complicated. Having a quality personal injury attorney can help make the situation a bit easier and help the victim get the compensation they deserve. If you have suffered an injury because of faulty stairs or steps in a building, contact an attorney.


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