Mistakes In Staircase Design That May Lead To Injuries

Proving fault in a slip and fall accident requires you to establish that a dangerous condition existed, the owner knew about it, and he or she did not do anything to prevent it. You can only do this if you have a thorough knowledge of the dangerous conditions. In the case of a slip and fall accident on a staircase, possible dangerous conditions include:

Improper Width 

The state determines the proper staircase width that ensures the user's safety. The width usually depends on the use, as well as the number of buildings and occupants. Unfortunately, things like cost-cutting measures or human error can result in a shorter width. A short width may not be ordinarily disastrous, but it becomes an issue when there is an urgent or critical use of the stairs; for example, if people are fleeing an inferno upstairs.

Handrail Issues

Building codes determine which stairs need handrails, as well as the number, height and type of handrails to install. Extremely high or low handrails are uncomfortable to use, especially for young kids or elderly individuals. Imagine an elderly individual trying to stoop down to use a handrail – he or she could easily lose his or her footing.

Uneven Sizes and Depths

Stairs should be equal in both width and height. When going up or down the stairs, you don't look down to determine where to put down your feet – you do it automatically based on the heights or widths you started with. This means you can slip and lose your footing if you encounter shorter or longer stairs. Of course, a little variation may be unavoidable, and there are codes that specify the maximum permissible variation.

Steep Slope

Another thing that may cause issues is that of the slope, and again, local building authorities specify which angles to use. A steep slope may not be a problem for those moving one story up, but it is uncomfortable for people going higher than that. Again, lack of space is one of the reasons building owners may sometimes elect to use very steep stairs.

As you can see, there are many things that can be wrong with a staircase, and you need to identify the right one for your claim. For example, you may lose your case if you claim that you slipped and fell because the staircase was too steep, and it later turns out that the slope was within the acceptable code. A little investigation may be needed to identify the correct fault. If you're looking for a personal injury attorney's help, visit Tarkowsky & Piper Co. LPA.