In the United States, it is estimated that every six minutes a child falls down the stairs. Falls down staircases are also common among individuals over the age of 65, and can be fatal. For healthy adults, falls down the stairs may not be as common as younger and older age groups, but when they occur, they often do so because of someone else’s negligence. A property owner is liable for staircase accidents just as they are liable for slip and fall injuries on their property; however, staircases themselves present numerous hazards that merit special consideration when contemplating a personal injury claim.
In order to hold someone legally liable for your staircase fall injuries, the property owner must have caused the hazardous condition, been aware of it, and failed to act or reasonably care for their property.
Because staircase accidents are not always caused by negligence, insurance claims adjusters will assess your carelessness and determine if you contributed to your injury. For example, if you were reading a book while walking down the stairs, you could be considered liable for your own injury. But, if that same staircase had significant building code violations, then comparative negligence will be used. With comparative negligence, the amount of damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage you are at fault. For example, you are considered 40 percent at fault; therefore, because of your comparative negligence, a $100,000 compensation award would be reduced to $60,000.
Building Code Violations and Staircase Accidents
Illinois has strict building code regulations that must be followed by construction companies, architects, and property owners. Some code violations that may contribute to an injury include:
- Handrail – Building codes require specific handrails for the types of stairs in place. If your injury occurred on a staircase that did not have a the proper handrail (or any handrail at all), the owner or the company that constructed the stairwell may be held liable for your injuries.
- Stair Height or Depth – A stair’s rise and run must meet minimum and maximum measurements as listed in state and county building codes. If either violates these measurement requirements, the staircase is considered defective.
- Uneven Stair Heights and Depths – A maximum variance from one step to the next is given in all building codes. This permitted height and depth difference cannot vary from the building code specifications, and, if it does, the staircase is considered defective.
Speak with an Attorney Now – Contact Malman Law
If you fell down a staircase or were injured by a defective stair, contact the attorneys at Malman Law. We will explore your legal options for compensation and vigorously defend your right to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an attorney online or call 888-625-6265 to get started with a free consultation.