In most cases, when you are in a public place, you may have access to an elevator or escalator to get to a different floor. However, you may prefer to take the stairs for health reasons or because it is more convenient than trying to find an elevator. Unfortunately, if the owner of the Florida building you are visiting does not take proper precautions for your safety, you may end up with serious injuries from a fall on the stairs.
Walking up stairs is something we learn to do at an early age, and it becomes second nature to us. If the design of the stairs follows the acceptable standard for safety, you may be able to make the climb without watching every step. However, poor design may not be the only hazard you face from a negligent property owner.
What’s wrong here?
Stairs that are too steep or narrow may present a tripping hazard. You may be able to catch yourself from falling and avoid injury, but suppose your hands are full or some other factor prevents you from grabbing the railing. Your fall could result in broken bones, internal injuries, paralyzing spinal cord damage or life-changing brain injuries. Other hazards that may cause you to fall on the stairs include:
- Lack of slip-resistant surfaces on the step
- Torn carpeting or uneven treads
- No landing to arrest your fall
- Loose or missing handrails
- Handrails that do not conform to safety standards
- Low stairways, such as two or three steps, that are difficult to see and not marked with warnings
- Clutter or debris on the steps or landings
- Dark staircases with poor lighting and no warning signs
A property owner has a duty to provide the safest possible environment free from hazards for you and other customers and visitors. Some ways to repair any of the above hazards include hiring professionals to bring stairways up to code, replacing low stairways with ramps and including examinations of stairs as part of daily inspections for safety. These simple actions can mean the difference between a normal day of business and a trip to the emergency room.
If you find yourself in a hospital or doctor’s office with injuries from a fall in a poorly maintained stairway, you have options. Pursuing compensation through the civil courts may be one of those if your fall was the result of the negligence of the property owner. An attorney can answer your questions and guide you to the next appropriate step.