Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal, unintentional injuries that are treated in Missouri hospital emergency rooms. Stairways are a common site for Kansas City slip and fall accidents.
Trips and falls on a stairway can cause a variety of serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and broken bones. Slips and falls on stairwells account for more than 15,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Falls on stairways can usually be attributed to at least one of the following:
• Design flaws
• Poor lighting
• Missing or faulty handrails or stair rails
• Poor visibility
• Improper maintenance
• Scientific studies have shown that people going up or down a stairway tend to only look at the first three and last three steps. The rest of the stairway negotiated without looking. It’s important that the first three steps be identical to the rest of the steps in the stairwell.
• When going down stairs, any variation in tread depth (horizontal width of the step) can cause a misstep that can lead to a serious fall, so most building codes require that stairs be uniform in size.
• When travelling up a stairway, variations in riser height (the height of the step) can cause an injury producing trip. Riser heights should be four to seven inches and minimum tread depth should be 11 inches.
• All tread surfaces and the floor surfaces leading to the stairway should be slip-resistant.
• If there are more than 12 steps in a stairway, the stairway should have an intermediate landing.
• Poor visibility of steps can cause a person to misread the stair edge and trip. Stairs are more easily visible if there is a visual contrast on the edge of the step. Yellow edges on stair treads are a great way to make stairwells both visible and less slippery.
• Where there is low light, step lighting can improve safety.
• Stairwells should be marked with signs indicating the presence of a stairwell.
STAIR RAILS AND HANDRAILS
• Stair rails are used to keep pedestrians from falling off the edge of the stairs or landings. Stairs should never have an open edge.
• Handrails help pedestrians keep their balance and provide leverage when using stairs. Handrails should be easily visible and present on both sides of the stairs.
• Improperly positioned or missing handrails are a common cause of stairway falls. Handrails should be kept in good repair.
• It is important that pedestrians be able to see steps when going up or down a stairwell. It is important that there be enough light that the edge of each tread is visible. There should be back-up lighting in the case of a power outage.
• Many stairway accidents occur due to poor maintenance.
• Stair treads should be kept clean and in good condition. Any worn or missing treads should be replaced.
• Carpets on stairs should be in good condition and firmly attached.
• Stairwell should never be used for storing inventory, equipment, supplies or other objects
A stairway accident can you in pain and unable to work for weeks or even months. You may not be able to pay your medical bills or even support your family. If you have been injured in a Kansas City stairway accident, it is important that you speak to a Missouri personal injury attorney who can determine if you have a Kansas City premises liability claim. If someone else is responsible for your injury, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages from time off of work, recovery costs, and pain and suffering.
To learn more about stairway accidents and your rights, contact Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at 888-348-2616.
Learn more about the rights of Missouri injury victims; download our free guide: “10 Essential Steps You Must Take To Protect Your Injury Claim.”