Stairways get us to where we need to go but they present the same hazards as if we were walking a straight line. A piece of rug could be torn up. The steps could be structurally faulty. And you could end up a statistic, as one among the thousands of people involved in a slip and fall accident on stairs every year.
Stairs and their upkeep are the responsibility of the property owner and if you fall on stairs, the owner is liable, the same as if it were a slip and fall accident on a level surface. As with all slip and fall accidents, the injured must prove that the premises owner:
- caused the dangerous situation
- knew of the situation and did nothing about it.
- should have known that the situation presented a potential hazard.In addition, you must also prove that your own carelessness did not contribute to the accident.
Stair accidents are additionally complicated, because these often pose hazards that are not present on level surfaces. The following are what you should look for following an accident on stairs:
- Slippery surface: Tile or highly polished wood looks nice, but can be very slippery. If you have an accident, the owner could be liable for preferring aesthetics over safety. Worn carpet also can pose a danger.
- Wet stairs: Outdoor stairs must be built and maintained to avoid excessive buildup of water and their surface must not become slippery when wet. If you slip on a stair with excessive moisture, the owner should be liable. If you fall on a stair that was not built with an anti-slip surface, the owner should also be liable.
- Building code lapses: Requirements for stairway construction regulate handrails, improper stair height or depth, and the construction of uneven stairs. Any one of these could present problems: Our brain tells our legs to move equal distance between steps but if one step is higher or lower than the last, even by a quarter of an inch, we may lose our balance and fall, a situation for which the property owner could be liable.
If you have an accident on stairs and think you have a case, consult a personal injury litigation attorney. You should always be able to trust that you can maneuver safely going up or down – without worrying about the hazards associated with getting to where you want to go.