Stairs are more than a last workout on your way to your apartment after a long day at work. They are also a major risk. Every time you go up or down the stairs in a building, you could potentially slip or trip and fall.
Business owners who make their facilities open to the public and landlords whose tenants must use stairwells in their buildings have an obligation to keep their stairs safe so that people can use them without unnecessary risk. Unfortunately, inadequate stair maintenance contributes to many injuries every year.
If any of the following maintenance issues played a role in your fall down a flight of stairs, those who own and maintain the building involved may have liability for your injuries.
Nothing to grab onto when you fell
Building codes are explicit about the requirement for all stairwells to include handrails or grab bars. A landlord who does not install them or does not maintain them could directly contribute to someone getting hurt, particularly if a handrail pulls out of the wall when someone falls and tries to use it.
Lights that don’t work or generally inadequate lighting
Frequent property checks are necessary for landlords to keep the residents safe. Someone could fall down the stairs and get hurt within minutes of a bulb burning out on a staircase. Landlords should do everything in their power to keep stairwells and other dangerous, high traffic areas well-lit.
In addition to the risks caused by landlords not replacing burned-out bulbs, people could also get hurt if there is only one light at the top of the stairs and not enough light in the lower part of the stairwell.
Whether there is linoleum, tile or carpet on the stairs, there should be an edge on each individual step. The floor should also be well maintained and clean. Torn, dirty carpet, wet or gritty tile and peeling linoleum could all cause someone to fall.
There are a host of other issues that could lead to a landlord having premises liability for an injury involving stairs on their property. An experienced attorney can provide you with valuable guidance.