Whether you are in a hotel, a store, an apartment building or a neighbor’s home, using the stairs is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Slip-and-fall accidents on the stairs are often very serious and sometimes fatal.
The risk is especially great when the stairs are in disrepair. If you want to lower the odds of an accident with serious injuries, you need to know what red flags to look for. A few of the more common ones include:
- Cracks running through the stair treads themselves, which are most obvious on wooden stairs
- Cracks running through the risers under the stairs
- Damage to the front edge of the stair, where most people step
- A handrail that is loose and moves away from the wall
- A staircase that is missing a handrail entirely.
- Stair treads that are loose and shift under your weight
- Fitting posts that are either loose or not properly connected to the rails
- Damage to the stairs from outside sources, such as water or pets
- Staircases that do not have proper lighting
- Stairs that are too steep
- Stairs that are wet or where the traction is otherwise compromised
- Stairs that are made at different heights; even a small difference can be a major trip hazard
Going up and down the stairs is something you probably often do without thinking twice about it. Next time, take a minute to assess the situation, and look for red flags. If you do get injured in a fall, be sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation for medical bills and other costs.