It seems like everyone’s wearing fitness trackers these days, doing just about everything possible to up their step count by the end of the day. This and a number of other public health campaigns to “take the stairs” have encouraged office workers and mall shoppers alike to opt for a little extra effort to get to the second floor.
But in part because of the frequent foot traffic, stairs are also a leading cause of injury in slip and fall cases. Improperly maintained or poorly constructed staircases pose several hazards to people who take them unaware. We’ll share what to watch out for to avoid falling on stairs and options for what to do if you are injured in a slip and fall accident so you can keep your step count strong.
You may have noticed grooves or textured strips near the edge of heavily trafficked stairs — this feature helps people keep traction and reduce their likelihood of falling in slippery conditions. Still, over time, these safety technologies and others like them can wear down from everyday use.
This means pedestrians are ultimately responsible for their own safety, so watch out for fall risks like the following.
A major cause of slip and fall accidents on the stairs is wear and tear on the flat part of the step, called the “run.” On carpeted stairs, watch out for waves and folds in the carpet that could snag your foot. Some stairs make use of slight overhangs for design purposes, so make note and take extra caution on these as well.
Most people consider ice and snow to be the main cause of falls, and these slippery conditions certainly contribute their fair share of slip and fall claims. However, indoor hardwood stairs can also be slick, especially if someone tries to race up or down them without the right kind of shoes on. In addition, tracking water in from a rainy day can make indoor concrete stairs slick.
Property owners are responsible for clearing ice and snow from outdoor walkways and taking reasonable care of slip hazards indoors as well. If you fall while trudging through an excess buildup of snow on an outdoor stairwell, it’s possible the owner can be held liable for your injuries.
Indiana state building codes regulate the construction of every building in the state. They can be used in legal battles like personal injury claims to strengthen the position of someone injured on poorly constructed stairs.
These codes are extremely specific and even a small deviation from them lends credibility to a slip and fall claim. These few common areas of code violation may help give you a starting point for what to look for in your specific case.
Each city in Indiana has different specifications for how many handrails must be present on a set of stairs and at what height they should be located. Of the many measurements you can take to prove the stairs violate code, handrail height is an important one. If there are no handrails, that’s likely an immediate code violation.
Stair Height and Depth
City codes also specify the range of measurements appropriate for both the height and depth of each step. Check your city’s specifications for these amounts and measure the stairs you fell on. It may seem paranoid, but if you’ve fallen and hurt yourself on someone’s stairs, every inch counts.
In addition, make sure the steps are uniform in height and depth. If they vary by more than a tiny amount, you likely have a legitimate code violation on your hands that will help you earn compensation from a slip and fall claim.
Take Your Next Step with an Indiana Slip and Fall Attorney
While you may have loved sliding down the stairs as a kid, it’s a lot less fun when it happens accidently as an adult. One way to take this accident seriously is to consult with a local slip and fall attorney. You may be able to file a personal injury claim that will compensate your all-too-adult medical expenses from the fall.
Hensley Legal Group is here for Hoosiers. Give us a call or contact us online today. Your conversation with us is totally free.