Five Common Stairway Defects That Increase the Risk of Injury
Jan 24, 2019 - Trip and Fall
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In Pennsylvania, stairway defects often lead to trip and fall injuries. Had the property owner (or builder, in some cases) properly evaluated these hazards and corrected them in a timely manner, then the injuries might have been prevented.
If you’ve been injured in a trip and fall accident due to the existence of a stairway defect, then you could be entitled to significant compensation. If the defect is not obvious (i.e., broken steps), then the defendant is likely to argue that the steps were not, in fact, dangerous. In many cases, the central point-of-conflict is whether or not there was a defect-based stairway hazard.
Consider the following.
Tread Surface Issues
Tread surfaces (i.e., the top of each step) are particularly prone to defects, many of which may not be obvious upon a brief visual inspection. When the surface is excessively smooth or rough in relation to what is “customary” and thus represents an unexpected departure from the norm, this can be a serious tripping hazard. Loose items left on tread surfaces can also contribute to the danger, particularly if the adjacent riser leaves a shadow that hides the loose item from the stairway user.
Inadequate lighting is a problem that many property owners may not realize affect the safety of a stairway, as the light source is often a distance away from the stairway itself. For example, in a restaurant setting, customers may be reliant on a light in the parking lot to help them see the front stairs in the evening. If the parking lot light burns out and is not replaced, then the stairway may be difficult to see, exposing customers to a significant risk of injury.
Railings are often placed too far apart, making it difficult for an individual to fall towards the railing and latch onto it to prevent injury. Generally speaking, if the stairs are very wide, then there should be a third railing in the center of the stairway to ensure that users have a railing to use for balance (and to grab onto in the event of falling).
Stairs may not have an equal height, which can increase the risk of injury as users may be disoriented by it. Minor fluctuations may not give rise to liability, but more severe fluctuations almost certainly can. It’s worth noting, however, that liability for injuries due to a poorly designed/constructed stairway is likely to lie with the designer/builder.
Inadequate Vertical Clearance
Safe stairway use also depends on vertical clearance. If there is not enough space above the user’s head, and they are forced to “duck” to use the stairway, then this could put them in an unbalanced position and make it more likely that they trip and fall.
Contact Our Experienced Allentown Trip and Fall Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC is a boutique personal injury litigation firm serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping injured plaintiffs litigating claims against business owners and other defendants, and in a wide variety of disputes — stairway accidents included.
We understand just how important it is that your case be favorably resolved. Unlike many of our competitors, we are not satisfied by a mere win. It’s important to us that you secure full and adequate damages to compensate you for your losses.
Ready to speak to our team about your claims? Call 610-433-3910 or send us a case evaluation form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our experienced Allentown trip and fall lawyers today.