Poor design and maintenance of staircases can easily lead to a falling accident. If that happens, the builder, owner, and occupier might be liable for the injuries, depending on the cause of the accident. Below are some of the specific staircase issues that can lead to accidents.
Slippery Run Surfaces
A slippery surface increases the risk of slipping and falling because your shoes won't get enough traction Staircases can be slippery or three main reasons:
- The material is smooth and slippery by nature.
- The staircase is wet with a liquid.
- The material is worn and slippery.
In the case of a slippery surface, the main concern is how long the staircase has been in that condition. That will determine whether the property owner knew or should have known about the danger.
You shouldn't have to look at your feet to know where the stair runs and risers are. You should be able to go up and down staircases with your head up. However, that is only possible if the stairs are of equal dimensions. Uneven stairs, where some risers or runs are shorter than others, are dangerous. You can easily lose your footing by stepping on thin air where a staircase run would have been if it were built with even dimensions.
In addition to the stairs having the same dimensions, the dimensions of the stairs must also adhere to the applicable building codes. Some factors that determine the safe dimensions include the type of staircase (such as curved or winding) and the use of the building (such as multi-dwelling or commercial). Staircases with small runs, for example, increase the risk of falling because you can easily miss a step.
A handrail helps in using stairs, especially for more vulnerable people such as the elderly or those living with disabilities. You might lose your balance and fall when navigating a staircase with missing or poorly designed handrails.
Local building codes determine which stairs must have handrails, which might vary slightly from the standards that International Code Council issues every three years. The determining factors typically include staircase dimensions and nature of the property (commercial or residential). The codes also specify the handrail design and construction for sturdiness.
Note that, in some cases, multiple parties might be liable for your staircase accident. Consult with personal injury attorneys in your area to help you figure out who is liable for your injury and pursue your damages.