Dangerous Stairs, Walkways, and Ramps
Stairs, walkways, and ramps are a common installation on most public structures, serving the valuable purpose of improving accessibility. Unfortunately, when these areas aren’t carefully designed, built with the right materials, or maintained properly, they can end up posing a risk to visitors.
Errors and Oversights Can Result in Hazardous Stairs, Walkways, and Ramps
Any change in elevation, whether it be a curb, a sloping floor, or a set of stairs has the potential to be dangerous for those who aren’t paying attention. Some steps and ramps, however, end up being hazardous not due to the fault of the person using them, but because of problems with design, construction, or maintenance. Examples of some errors and oversights, for instance, can result in the following hazards:
- Steps and ramps that are too steep, which can increase the chances of tripping and falling forward;
- Steps that are the wrong width, thereby reducing how much space a person has on which to place his or her foot;
- Walkways that slope unexpectedly;
- Stairways and walkways that are not well-lit, increasing the risk of a slip and fall accident;
- Steps and ramps that lack handrails; and
- Outdoor steps and ramps constructed of wood, which can increase the chances of warping and slipping when wet.
While ramps and steps are primarily designed to help visitors access buildings, parking lots, and pathways, they can actually end up being inherently dangerous when they aren’t constructed or maintained properly.
Liability for Hazardous Stairs, Walkways, and Ramps
Who can be held liable for any of the aforementioned problems will depend on the specific facts of the case. If, for instance, a ramp was constructed out of the wrong materials or according to incorrect specifications, the company responsible for construction or installation could bear some responsibility for any resulting slip and fall accidents. If, on the other hand, a property owner didn’t provide adequate lighting in a stairwell, failed to repair a broken handrail, or didn’t address uneven or worn stairs, he or she could be required to compensate someone who slipped and fell as a result. This is because property owners who invite visitors onto their premises are required to take reasonable precautions to keep those visitors safe by keeping walkways clear of clutter, addressing torn carpeting and other flooring problems, and cleaning up spills. Property owners who fail to fulfill these duties can and should be held liable for any resulting accidents. Successful claimants could be entitled to reimbursement for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call Our Office for Help After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you were injured after using an unsafe stairway, walkway, or ramp, you could be entitled to damages. Please contact the experienced Marietta slip and fall lawyers at Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for an assessment of your own case. You can also set up a meeting by completing one of our online contact forms. A member of our legal team is standing by and prepared to get started on your case right away.