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I fell down the stairs and there was no handrail, is the owner or landlord responsible for my medical bills?

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Premises Liability

Most states in the United States have adopted building codes. One of the purposes of those codes is to keep people safe from harm.  These building codes are not always followed and at times people are severely injured due to builders, owners, or landlords failing to build or maintain their property in a safe manner.

Lawyers look at building codes to see if there were violations of law that led to the injury

When someone is injured by dangerous conditions on property, attorneys often look to the building codes in order to establish what should have been done to make the property safe.

Not having railing on a flight of stairs will likely be against California Code

If you have been injured on a flight of stairs that did not have a railing or was defective in any other way, you most likely have the ability to seek compensation for medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering against the person in charge of the stairs.  There are exceptions in the laws, so not all situations will result in someone being responsible.

Bad choices to not fix things can cause serious injuries or death

Sometimes builders and owners don’t know about the vast law, but often builders, landlords and owners choose to not follow the code because it is more expensive.  An unwise decision made between safety and cost often causes people to be seriously injured or killed.

Model Codes such as International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) are adopted through law

Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations includes the California Building Code (CBC).  The California Building Code (CBC) essentially adopts building standards in the form of model codes and adds also has their own amendments or additions and exceptions.  Some of these model codes include the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Municipalities such as cities are able to adopt portions of different model codes as well and create their own additions.

Why is it so hard to find the proper building code? 

It’s hard to find the building code because by copyright law prevents the California legislature from publishing the model codes.  You have to pay the International Code Council (ICC) to access the code.

Can I still recover for my injuries even though the owner didn’t break a law? 

Breaking or violating a code is not the only way to hold someone responsible for your injuries.  Under general negligence law, a landowner, property manager, landlord, or builder could be found to have broken a duty that they owed to their tenants and be held responsible.  The law does not innumerate all the ways people can mess up.  The law says we have to act as a reasonable person would.  What is reasonable can be determined by a jury.

Contact a slip and fall attorney to determine if you have a case.