Seeking Compensation for a Slip and Fall on Stairs
Stairs are a common feature that can be found in homes and buildings. They provide access to people who wish to go to different levels or floors in a structure. However, stair accidents are also widespread, including slips and falls.
Building Code and the Duty to Keep Your Property Safe
While stairs are essential in multi-level properties, stair-related injuries are common, whether residential or commercial.
According to the National Safety Council, 2,865,817 people got injured in 2022 in stairs, ramps, and landings. Seniors aged above 65 years old and children younger than five years old made up most of the number.
A property owner has the responsibility to ensure that his properties do not pose any danger to their occupants and the community. Building codes exist to protect the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Property owners should abide by them to reduce risks and hazards.
Top 10 Leading Causes of Slip and Fall on Stairs
A building code violation can result in accidents and injuries. Building codes exist to ensure that structures are built according to standards. Building code violations can increase the risks of accidents and injuries.
Here are ten leading causes of slips and falls in stairs and how to avoid them.
Broken and Missing Handrails
Building codes require handrails, and for good reason. Handrails help people keep their balance when going up and down the stairs. A missing or broken handrail can easily cause a person to slip and fall down the stairs.
Fall accidents are also more likely to occur when handrails are of the wrong height, ill-positioned, or loose. Most building codes specify their requirements for handrails, especially apartment complexes and grocery stores.
A slippery surface is a dangerous surface, and a slippery step in the staircase is very risky. Some surfaces are especially slick, such as highly polished wood or old carpet. These surfaces have a low coefficient of friction, making sliding more likely to occur. Wax and floor polish can also make the staircase steps slippery. Outdoor stairs can become slippery from snow and ice, including black ice.
Uneven Stair Height
Certain stairs have uneven construction from the beginning or may become uneven with time and use. People using the steps can trip or fall because they are not prepared for a different height. Steps should have the same distance throughout.
Stairs are difficult to use without adequate lighting. Inadequate lighting in stairwells and stairways can make it challenging to see dangers, obstacles, and foot clearances.
Improper Stair Height or Depth
There must be a minimum tread depth of 9 inches (229 mm). The tread depth must be measured at a straight angle to the tread’s leading edge and horizontally between the vertical planes of the treads’ foremost projections. In any flight of stairs, the largest tread depth cannot be greater than the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm).
Objects and Obstructions
The stairs must always be free from any objects and obstructions, which can increase the risk of stairway falls.
Damaged or Broken Steps
Any broken or loose part of the stairs, whether the tread, riser, or handrails, can make the staircase more dangerous to navigate.
There are times when a stairwell is just built incorrectly from the start. Perhaps unsuitable materials were utilized, like inexpensive wood or metal that corrodes and decays easily. How the steps, risers, handrails, and other components were put together might also be the issue.
People can trip on tears and rips in carpets, causing them to fall down the stairs. The torn spot must be fixed or the carpet needs replacement immediately.
Staircase steps must be free from any liquid, as a liquid can make it slippery and cause a stairway slip.
Common Injuries Resulting from Slip and Fall on Stairs
A stairway fall can lead to various injuries, from minor to life-threatening. Stair accidents can lead to serious injuries, which include: