Slip and fall accidents on outdoor staircases are fairly common. Unfortunately, we’ve handled well over 100 of those. There are several reasons why outdoor staircases can be dangerous.
First of all, the safest outdoor stairway surface would be what’s called "broomed concrete". This would be a concrete base whereby before the concrete dries, the contractor takes a broom and actually creates a surface that is somewhat rough. Doing this creates small groves within the concrete which help prevent hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning can occur when enough rain or water gathers on a step or staircase so that when a person steps on that surface, some water disperses, but not all. As a result, the person’s foot may not fully hit the concrete, but instead hits the water, and that foot can go flying forward, causing a slip and fall accident, sometimes resulting in serious injury.
Hydroplaning can of course also occur when you’re driving a car and you hit your brakes on a slippery wet road, and the car than skids as a result of the braking action and the water on the ground. The same concept can occur on a staircase. So the "broomed concrete" surface helps prevent that from occurring.
Another issue that is generally very problematic is when stairs are painted. If you have the regular concrete stair, it may not have that great of an appearance. So a lot of condominium associations and apartment complexes like to paint their stairs. So that may look better, but it’s certainly not safer. Why isn’t it safer, you may ask? Well, the reason is that when you paint the concrete, you are to a large extent eliminating the foots exposure to the porous concrete step where the liquid can be better absorbed over time into concrete. In other words, a raw hard concrete step absorbs water and liquid significantly better and quicker than one that is painted.
Often times when you see a painted concrete surface, you’ll find that it is more slippery than the natural concrete itself. So what needs to be added to make it safer and more skid-proof is anti-skid and anti-slip material. This type of additive is sold in Home Depot and Lowes and other hardware-type stores and certainly can be purchased online. Every management company managing a condo or apartment complex should know that when they paint the stairs, this additive needs to be added to make it safer. One such additive is something called “Suregrip”, but there are numerous others. Often times, they are ground up glass. Candidly, you can use sand if you have access to it legally, and you can of course, purchase it. But that’s what should be in a painted concrete surface. And, it is safer for them to paint with a stain, and not for example, a latex. A stain allows more absorption than a latex paint.
And the more coats of paint that a stair has, especially if it’s without any type of anti-slip material, or not enough anti-slip material, the more slippery it will be.
In addition, we have seen many stairs that violate the building codes. Riser height of the stairs could be too high, or could be too low. Generally the difference in riser heights between immediately adjacent stairs cannot exceed 3/16 of an inch, or it generally violates most building codes. On the entire staircase, the riser height of each stairs cannot differ by more than 3/8 of an inch for any stair within that staircase, or it violates most building codes.
The reason why the riser heights cannot vary as stated is because when we walk, we walk in such a way that we develop a certain gait. If there is something that interrupts that normal gait that we’ve established that we are not expecting (a substantial difference in riser heights), we can misstep. And that causes a lot of fall injuries. So that’s not exactly a slip and fall, that’s a misstep due to a potentially defective staircase or stair.
So there are multiple different types of defective conditions that can be found on staircases that can result in personal injuries to people. We have handled hundreds of falls down outdoor staircases. If you have fallen downstairs and been injured, call us and we will give you a free consultation. If you slipped, miss-stepped, or even if you feel as if it is a trip and fall, give us a call. Mr. Cytryn is a board-certified civil trial lawyer for more than 30 years handling these type of personal injury cases for more than 40 years.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident on outdoor staircase in South Florida, call us NOW for a free consultation at (954) 833-1440.
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