Stairs are inherently dangerous and many people have fallen over the years and been injured or killed. Fall injuries are second only to motor vehicle accidents as far as insurance claims go, according to an American National Council on Compensation Insurance estimate done for the years 2001 to 2002.
Proper design of stairways can help, but it cannot completely eliminate the hazards of falling onstairs. Following the recommendations for dimensions of stairs and stairwells is important. The steeper the stairs are, the harder they are to climb. This could contribute to falls.
Having a properly designed handrail, rather than just one that is pleasing to the eye, is a significant preventative factor is some cases. Having a non-slippery surface on the stair treads themselves is also important. Improved visibility is crucial on stairways to prevent falls due to the misjudgment of the distance. If people cannot see the stairs, it can greatly increase the likelihood of an accident. It is also recommended that individuals wearing bifocals be extra careful on stairs.
Rigorous building codes also help, but preventing falls, slipping and tripping is a matter of being diligent. Proper housekeeping is also a significant safety issue; cleaning up debris and spills is vital when keeping stairways safe. Repairing or replacing broken lighting is also beneficial.
Property owners bear the responsibility for keeping stairways safe and preventing falls. When a fall is the result of negligent property maintenance or inadequate lighting, a fall victim could be considering filing a lawsuit for compensation. A personal injury lawyer could help an injured plaintiff with knowing their rights and determining if filing a claim is the right move for them. If they decide to move forward with their claim, the lawyer could help by filing the suit for them.