Staircase Accidents

Staircase Accidents

Some of the most serious injuries occur in falls down stairs. When these types of staircase accidents occur, one must consider the design of the stairs. Are the stairs in question are safe? Did the stairs met the applicable building codes and standards? Some of the factors examined in a defective stair case or premises liability case are:

Inadequate Stair Surfaces

Stair surfaces should provide firm footing and adequate slip resistance. So they don’t contribute to slipping or tripping. Surface materials such as carpet should have distinct patterns. Otherwise they can obscure the leading edges of the treads and contribute to a misstep.

Uniform Risers and Treads

Stair risers and treads should be uniform. These dimensions are important. They allow the user to establish a uniform gait when using the stairs. Irregular distances can lead the loss of balance, stumbles and falls.

Projecting Leading Edges

Stair nosings with short treads can present a trip hazard. If the effective width of the tread is reduced, heels may catch on the nosings. Nosings may also present a trip hazard to people ascending the stairs. If a person’s foot is dragged up the riser, their toe may catch on the nosing and cause a misstep.

Shape of Leading Edge

Rounded leading edges allow for better visibility. This will reduce injuries if one should fall against the tread. The leading edge should not have such a large radius that there is a tendency to slide over the edge.

Distance between Landings

Reducing or limiting the distance between landings provides for more resting places. This reduces the distance one might fall.

Unsafe Handrails

The space between handrails, the strength of their fasteners, and height are considerations. A person should have the ability to easily grasp the handrails. Handrails should also be visible and substantial.

Inadequate Lighting

There should be uniform light levels over the whole staircase. Low glare light sources improve visibility and reduce the likelihood of missteps.

Victim Fault

Insurance companies often attempt to blame the victim for falls. Any physical disability of the victim will be examined as a possible cause. Did the person have any perception or sensory difficulties? The insurance company will examine the victim’s footwear. High heels or long skirts could have been a stumbling hazard. Was the victim was carrying large heavy items or rushing? These factors will be used to blame the victim.
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