We have all done it at least once in our lives. We head up – or down – a flight of stairs and suddenly find ourselves in a heap on the ground. If we were lucky, we were uninjured and simply a bit embarrassed. But sometimes falling on stairs can result in serious injuries. And when those stairways were inadequately maintained, the owner of the premises may be at fault.
When someone is injured because of dangerous or defective property, the law protects him or her under the statutes governing “premises liability”. And tripping, slipping or falling on stairs is part of these statutes. As Middle Tennessee slip and fall lawyers, we see the results of stairway injuries and know that many times the property owners are at fault.
Many conditions can make stairways unsafe. These include:
- Wear and tear. Concrete and marble can chip, slip resistant materials can wear out and nosings or wear strips can deteriorate.
- Poor construction. Both new construction and repair construction can fail, leaving stairs unsafe. There are safety standards and legal requirements for stairs that all builders should adhere to.
- Irregular riser heights and tread lengths can cause many accidents.
- The accumulation of water and/or food on the treads. In public places especially, food and water are dropped by patrons. It is the duty of the owner to clean up spills.
- Tearing or holes in carpeting. Because stairs generally take a beating, carpets should be replaced at the first signs of wear.
- Poor lighting. Inadequate lighting or lighting that has burned out can lead to serious falls.
- Lack of handrails, or damaged handrails. Many people rely on handrails to navigate stairways. Without these safety features in place and functional, falls are more likely.
- Unmarked, unusual stair features. If stairs feature an unusual construction or odd design, signs should be posted in a visible spot at the top and bottom.
There are two basic rules in premises liability accidents. First, the owner must keep the property safe. Second, the visitor must use the property normally. Assuming you have fulfilled the second rule, then your fall on an unsafe stairway means the property owner violated the first.
Bailey & Greer, a premiere Memphis law firm, handles all types of premises liability cases, including stairway accidents. If you have been injured and need legal advice please call us today toll-free at 901-680-9777. We are here to help.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Thomas has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence. Thomas has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained several impressive jury verdicts and settlements
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