Stairs, stairwells and stairways seem quite safe to most users. When you grow up using stairs all of your life, you might not stop to think about any hazards they pose. However, thousands of Americans die from slip-and-fall accidents on stairways each year in America. Los Angeles residents are certainly not immune to these hazards as many homes, commercial establishments and workplaces have stairways one must navigate.
Common stair hazards that lead to slip-and-falls include the following.
- Poor lighting conditions
- Missing or damaged handrails
- Debris or objects on stairs
- Slippery steps caused by water, ice or spills
- Damaged or missing treads
- Loose carpeting or other material
The state of California's Department of Industrial Relations imposes strict guidelines regarding stairs and stairways. For example, the code requires that stairways be equipped with handrails. Another example requires that stairways must be not less than 24 inches wide. The Department even has a say in how deep the steps on a stairway must be.
With such detailed attention to safety, why do slip-and-falls still occur so frequently on stairways? The answer is actually quite simple. In some cases, users ignore their own safety and misuse stairways. In other cases, the owner of the establishment is the one in error. When building and business owners fail to comply with regulations, slip-and-falls leading to significant injuries or death are more likely to occur.
Those who have suffered injury or lost a loved one to a slip- and-fall accident can seek a legal remedy against the negligence of the property owner. One such remedy involves filing a premises liability claim targeting the owner of the hazardous property. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate this process.