Going up and down the stairs to get to your apartment or a business usually seems like little more than an annoyance. A routine trip up or down a flight of stairs could result in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incident that leaves you severely injured and possibly dealing with property damage as well if your phone or glasses broke during the fall.
Sometimes, stairway falls happen because people are under the influence of alcohol or engaging in horseplay when they shouldn’t be. Other times, a landlord directly contributes to dangerous stairway conditions by failing to maintain the property. The three maintenance issues below could all bolster someone’s claim of premises liability after they fall down the stairs.
Unrepaired damage to the flooring
Whether there is tile, laminate or wood on the stairs, landlords should maintain them so that the floor surface on each step is even and secure. Warped surfaces and flooring curling or pulling up could lead to someone tripping or slipping.
People can’t get up and down the stairs safely if they can’t see the environment around them. Even if they have taken the stairs a hundred times before, they might not see the coffee cup that someone else dropped. Letting lights burn out or not having illumination for the entire length of the staircase could lead to claims from those who fall.
Loose or missing handrails
Sometimes people do just lose their balance, which is why handrails or grab rails are so important. They allow something to hold on to as they walk up and down the stairs to prevent a fall and can potentially stop someone from hitting the ground or falling all the way down to the bottom of the stairs if a slip does occur. When a handrail isn’t present or when it is loose or damaged, it won’t help someone who falls.
When landlords neglect these or other basic aspects of stair and building maintenance, people who get hurt on their property may have grounds for a premises liability claim.