Over 1 million people are injured or killed in stair accidents each year, according to the National Safety Council. If you have been injured in this kind of accident, you may be eligible for damages from the property owner. It is important to speak to a personal injury attorney right away as a slip and fall lawyer can help. Property owners are liable for slip and fall accidents on the stairs, but many times, those injured can’t pinpoint what caused the fall. A slip and fall lawyer can help prove fault, even when the dangers are hidden underneath the surface. Here are some examples of negligence that you might need assistance proving.
If the stairs are wood, property owners are expected to mop them and keep them clean. But if an accident occurs as the result of a wet floor, the owner could be held liable. There needs to be a sign or other warning that the floor is wet, and there should be barriers of some kind to prevent people from walking in the area.
Another danger, if the owner waxes or polishes the floor, is applying the treatment unevenly or leaving a part of the stairs untreated, so that the change in the surface causes a fall. Owners are also required to use wax or polish treatments that contain non-skid ingredients.
If the stairs are carpeted, the owner is liable for any torn, bulging, or worn carpeting that could cause someone to trip. An item stuck in the carpet could also be a hidden danger.
For outdoor stairs, wet or icy conditions could also lead to a fall. While people are expected to use extra caution in these conditions, property owners must maintain their stairs to prevent excess buildup of water or ice.
Building Code Violations
No matter where you live, there is a building code. They differ by state and often by county, and they contain requirements for stairs. Handrails are often required on specific types of stairs, and there is usually a specified width or height requirement for handrails.
Stairs themselves have height and depth requirements under most building codes, as well. There is a maximum and minimum measurement for both the “riser” – the vertical part of each step – and the “run” – the horizontal section of each step. A violation of either of these codes will go a long way toward proving fault after an accident occurs.
The same is true for the height and depth between two steps. There are codes dictating the maximum variance from one step to the next. This identifies differences in height or depth between the steps and dictates how much variety is allowed.
If there is improper or inadequate lighting in the stairwell or at the top or bottom of the stairs, this could be a danger, as well. If you fell down the stairs because you weren’t able to see properly, the property owner could be found liable.
Staircase accidents are the second leading cause of accidental injury, according to the National Safety Council. While it may be easy to prove a fall that was caused by an object on the stairs, there are many dangers that are not as easy to identify and a slip and fall lawyer can help. And remember: any property owner is liable, whether the fall happens at a grocery store or your neighbor’s house.
If you’re injured in a stair accident, a slip and fall lawyer can help and you need to speak to a slip and fall lawyer right away to find out what damages you may be eligible for. You can contact us for a free case evaluation today.