Stair Accidents Proving Fault
It should come as no surprise that people all over the world trip, slip, or fall on stairs every day. In fact, according to data, over one million injuries occur each year as a result of stairway falls. Unfortunately, not everybody knows that property owners can be liable for these accidents.
However, stairs can pose additional dangers that require special consideration. Thus, it’s much harder to determine who is at fault in the case of stair accidents. This article will take a look into these injuries and explain how a victim can prove fault. But first, a better understanding of how liability works for most slips and falls accidents is necessary.
Understanding Liability For Slip And Falls
In order for owners to be responsible for slip and fall injuries that happen on their property, at least one of the following needs to be true:
● An employee or the owner of the property knew of the dangerous surface beforehand but didn’t fix it.
● The people who maintain the property have caused the worn or torn spot, spill, or other dangerous surfaces or items to be underfoot.
● The owner of the property or an employee should have known about the hazardous surface as a responsible person who takes care of the property, discovers and repairs any issues with it.
Additionally, in most slip and fall cases, insurance companies will investigate whether the victim's carelessness caused the accident. They achieve that by applying the rules of comparative negligence, which state that when an accident occurs, the fault of the involved parties is based upon their personal contributions to the accident.
How to Figure Out Who Was at Fault for a Stair Accident?
Stair accidents are much more complicated than a simple slip and fall. More specifically, they come with inherent dangers that are not always present on level surfaces. In fact, some defects can remain hidden even after an accident.
Here are a couple of factors to consider when looking to prove fault in a stair accident.
Some of the most common stair dangers are worn-down carpets or the stairs' wood. A slightly worn step or carpet is more hazardous than worn stairs, as it’s harder to notice the danger.
In addition, some stairs are made using tile or polished wood, which are more slippery than carpet and stone. If anyone falls on such stairs, the property owner is liable for choosing beauty over safety.
Icy or Wet Outdoor Stairs
Weather conditions such as snow, rain, and ice increase the risk of accidents on outdoor stairs. And while people should be more careful when climbing them, this doesn’t absolve the owner of his fault.
Property owners need to maintain outdoor stairs to avoid the buildup of ice. They also need to install surfaces that don’t become excessively slippery when wet. So, when somebody slips on an icy or wet staircase, especially if it doesn’t feature an anti-slip surface, the owner is liable for any resulting injuries.
Building Code Violations
All states in the US have a building code that builders and property owners need to follow, which also regulates stairs. If the stairs don’t meet the building code specifications, the owner or the construction contractor can be liable. Some of the areas that building codes cover regarding stairs include:
● Handrails: Most building codes require stairs to have handrails. When somebody falls on stairs that should have a handrail but don't, the victim can pursue damages from the owner. It’s also important to mention that handrails need to be a certain height and width. Grabbing a defective handrail can cause people to fall, even when there is nothing wrong with the stairs themselves.
● Improper or Uneven Depth or Stair Height: The horizontal and vertical parts of each step are referred to as the run and riser. According to building codes, they need to have a maximum and minimum measurement; otherwise, the stairs are defective. Additionally, the size of the run and riser shouldn't vary from one step to another, as stepping on them could make people lose their balance and fall.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
At the end of the day, the best thing a victim can do is contact slip and fall lawyers in St Louis. Not only can an attorney answer all legal questions that one might have, but they can also do the necessary investigations to see who was at fault. And, if they find that the owner is responsible, a lawyer can take the case to court and fight for the victim’s rights.
On the other hand, if you suffered from a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk, find out who is liable for a sidewalk slip and fall.
Furthermore, we also have an article tackling how comparative negligence does affect a slip and fall case.