Landlords who rent their property out and business owners who invite the public onto their premises have to maintain their facilities properly. Inadequate maintenance can make a building unsafe and even lead to legal or financial claims against the business or property owner.
For example, if someone falls down the stairs at a business or an apartment building, they may have grounds for a premises liability claim. Someone who fell because they were drunk would be at fault for their own injuries in most cases. However, those who fall because of a stairway maintenance issue, like the three listed below, may have grounds to seek compensation for their injuries or other losses.
Damaged, torn or peeling floors
Having safe surfaces is important on any floor, but it is safety-critical in a stairwell. Any irregularity in the flooring could lead to someone tripping and falling.
Linoleum that has peeled back from the edge, carpet with tears or loose strings and loose tiles or boards are all examples of maintenance issues that could cause someone to fall down the stairs.
A loose or missing handrail
Stairs are a known risk for people falling, which means that there are standard safety precautions that every property owner should take. These precautions include installing and maintaining a handrail that can bear the weight of an adult. If there isn’t a railing or bar for you to grab while you fall or if it breaks or comes loose from the wall, then you have a strong claim for negligent maintenance.
Stairs can be dangerous even in the best of circumstances, but with limited visibility, the potential of tripping or slipping increases dramatically.
Property owners need to ensure that stairways have adequate illumination for their entire length. Frequently inspecting the stairs to make sure that lights don’t burn out and leave the area too dark for safety is as important as installing the lights in the first place.
When negligent maintenance causes someone to get hurt, they may be able to file a premises liability claim. Identifying signs of negligent maintenance can help you determine if a fall might lead to a premises liability claim.