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Stairs can be dangerous any time, although certain scenarios make them a much bigger risk. In a situation where you have far too much to drink and then you lose your balance, you could easily fall down a flight of stairs. However, if you caused your own impairment, the chances are good that no one else can be held liable for your injuries.
Still, in many other scenarios, the person who owns or manages the building with the staircase where you fell could be liable for the injuries you suffered and the financial consequences they caused. Let’s look at a few of these.
When there isn’t adequate lighting
You might not be able to see how many more stairs you need to go down or whether there is something in your way on the floor when there is inadequate lighting. Many stairwells are in centralized locations inside buildings, meaning they receive minimal or no natural light. Property owners and managers should provide lights that illuminate the entire stairwell.
When the flooring is dirty or dangerous
In high-traffic areas, the water or dirt that comes off of people’s shoes could make the floor slippery and dangerous. The same is true for trash or other objects that people might drop while going up and down the stairs.
Property owners and managers should frequently inspect and clean stairwells to ensure that they are safe. Inspections won’t just identify issues with trash but can also help those inspecting the floor spot signs that the flooring itself is dangerous. These can include peeling linoleum or torn carpeting that could cause someone to trip and fall.
When the handrail is absent or loose
A handrail is a critical safety measure on a staircase. It helps people keep their balance and can stop a fall. Landlords and others responsible for a building’s safety should not let people use staircases that don’t have a handrail. They should also routinely inspect the handrail to make sure that it can still bear weight. If you fall where there was no handrail or the handrail came loose when you grabbed it, you might have a premises liability case.
Maintaining unsafe facilities leaves property owners open to premises liability claims by people who get hurt on their property. If you’ve been injured because of unsafe facilities, an experienced attorney can help you.