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Premises liability: Faulty stairs

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2023 | Premises Liability

Did you know that more than one million people receive injuries due to stairway falls each year? In fact, only injuries from motor vehicle accidents outpace stairway injuries.

In addition, 12,000 people die in stairway accidents each year. When you find yourself injured on another person’s stairs, you may have a premises liability case.

Property owner’s responsibility

Local governments created building codes to keep people safe. On stairways, property owners need to have stable handrails at the proper height and width. The stairs also have height and depth requirements. They should also be even throughout. They need to be structurally sound and not leaning or damaged.

Property owners should also make sure their stairs are free from debris. They need to address worn-out carpeting and slippery surfaces. This may require replacing carpets, adding tread or changing the surface of the stairs to improve their safety.

Liability requirements

You may be liable if you do not take care when traversing the stairs. Judges consider your own carelessness and the reasonableness of the fall.

Owners are liable if they or their staff know about the defect and do not fix it, if these individuals caused the damage to the stairs or if they should have known that the surface was unsafe. If a reasonable person would have fixed the damage, a judge may find the property owner at fault.

Stairs are inherently dangerous. This means that you take on some liability when you use them. You may have difficulty proving fault because some dangers are not easily detectable.