Every parent understands that stairs are dangerous. That’s why one of the most important parts of baby proofing a house is making sure that every set of stairs has a baby-gate. Stairs can also be especially dangerous for the elderly. As a person loses his or her mobility as he or she ages, navigating stairs can be difficult.
The reason that stairs can be so dangerous is how far someone can fall. A tumble down the stairs can mean a fall of 10 to 15 feet. Falls with this amount of force can break bones, cause concussions, and put any person in a hospital.
When it comes to the elderly, a fall down the stairs can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Everyone wants to stay in their homes as long as they can. A stairway injury can complicate that. A person who is already limited with their movements is much more susceptible to a serious injury from a fall than a young and otherwise healthy individual. These injuries can rob an elderly person of the physical ability to live alone.Stairways Must Be Built For Safety
Because stairs are such a danger to those who have mobility issues, there are many requirements for stairs.
- Handrails: Most stairways are required to have a handrail. This is usually the case for any set of stairs that has three or more steps. This handrail is supposed to be one that can be easily grasped. That way, if someone does lose their balance, the handrail is there to keep someone from falling altogether.
- Riser Height: This is the height of each step. While there is a range of acceptable heights that stairs can be, the more important aspect is that each step is the same height. If 4 steps are 7 inches while 1 step is 9 inches, it increases the chances of someone losing their balance and falling.
- Non-Slip Surfaces: In many commercial areas, stairs need to be made of a material that does not become slippery when they become wet.
- Lighting: Stairs that are built with every safety feature available still become a hazard if people cannot see where they are going.
The local building code has incorporated these and other requirements so that stairs are safe for everyone to use, especially the young and old who are most vulnerable to falls.
Falling down a set of stairs can cause serious injuries. Whether someone falls down a single step or an entire flight, bones can be broken and ligaments can be torn. In some cases, a fall down the stairs can cause death or paraplegia.Experienced Stairway Accident Attorneys
When someone hears about a fall down the stairs, many immediately just assume that it was the person’s fault. At Marcotte Law Firm, we have the experience to know that this is often not the case. Our attorneys frequently visit the scene to look at the stairs first hand. We make sure there’s a railing, and we measure the height of the stairs. We take pictures that can be used if the property owner makes changes to the stairs after the fall.
We also understand the severity of the injuries that are sustained. We know that a fall down the stairs can be a death sentence for some, and life altering for others. We then are able to fully show your injuries to the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve fallen down a set of stairs and were injured, call the attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.