Premises Liability

Tall Step Fall Lawyer


Legal help for those injured by tall steps in violation of building codes.

People that trip or fall on a tall step have a difficult time obtaining help from personal injury lawyers. The fall victim often struggles to explain why they fell. This is particularly true when they fall as a result of a tall step that is clearly visible.

Why Tall Steps Violate Building Codes

Most tall steps are also single steps

Engineers, code officials and architects know the reasons why people fall on single steps. When designing buildings, homes and walkways engineers and architects try to avoid single steps. Where single steps exist or cannot be avoided these hazards need to be marked. Most local codes do not have provisions that ban single steps but they often adopt national model building codes. These codes regulate the permissible height, minimum and maximum, for single steps. The model building codes also require that single steps be marked with paint, lighting, hand rails or contrasting materials.

A single step fall lawyer will often need the assistance of an engineer to explain to the jury why single steps are hazardous. Most building codes limit the maximum height of a commercial step to 7 inches and a residential step to 8 inches. Designers have installed level platforms in parking garages with inclines leading to higher floors. Such platforms confront pedestrians with a single step of varying heights depending on where the pedestrian approaches the platform. This danger may be avoided by locating the stairwells at the edge of the parking garages where the locations are level. If the level platform is located in a sloping garage the builder may place guard rails on the platform where the step height exceeds 7 inches.  Tall step lawyer, George Patterson has successfully litigated several single step fall cases.

Why tall steps are dangerous?

Why you fell

There are three reasons why pedestrians will fall on a single step that is too high. The first reason is that pedestrians have been trained by building codes that have been in existence for decades to expect steps that are about 7 inches tall. If a pedestrian sees a step ahead that is 9 inches tall they may only lift their foot 8 inches high out of habit, hitting the top of the step. Once the leading foot hits the top of the step, the person will fall forward. This danger is often found on platforms in parking garages that surround stair cases. These platforms are required to prevent heavy fumes from fuel spills from drifting into stairwells. The single step prevents this serious fire hazard.

The second reason is a person approaching a single step from the higher elevation may not appreciate the depth of the impending drop. A single step that is too tall is likely to be seen from the higher elevation but the depth of the drop is unlikely to be appreciated. If a pedestrian expects their foot to hit ground sooner than it does the pedestrian is likely to stumble and fall.

The third reason is that the top edge of the step is rounded or beveled over more than a half inch. A concrete platform that has a step that is 8 inches tall with a rounded edge of an inch can create a visual deception. Imagine that the concrete platform is light grey on the top and is in a parking garage with grey concrete parking and driving surfaces. If the raised platform abuts a parking space the flat sides of the platform are likely to be darkened by tires brushing against the sides of the platform. The rounded beveled area will remain a light grey like the top of the platform. Thus a pedestrian will see a step that appears to be seven inches tall and their lead foot will hit the 1 inch rounded top of the step causing them to fall forward.  Single steps likewise should be painted to avoid this visual deception.

Garage floors at your home should be lower than the first floor to prevent fumes from spilled gasoline from entering your home. A single step is often used to separate garages from interior rooms.

Expert help is needed

Experts explain building codes are safety rules

The tall step fall lawyers at Patterson Law are familiar with the applicable codes governing singles steps and the reasons why pedestrians may not see a single step or may misjudge the height of a tall step. Lawyer George Patterson has retained and cross examined experts in such cases because most people do not appreciate the dangers of tall steps. Experts are useful in detailing the history of building codes and industry standards that have long recognized the dangers of single steps and tall steps. Such experts also distinguish the single steps that pedestrians encounter safely on a daily basis from those unmarked single steps or tall steps that are likely to cause injuries.

Fantastic service. Totally confident with his advice and actions. Highly knowledgeable and intuitive.I have never had to use legal services before, and throughout the entire process Mr. Patterson kept me up to date on a regular basis, and helped me come to a generous outcome. His combination of philosophy, knowledge of economics, and years of experience make him the supreme advisor and champion when deciding to go in a legal direction. I couldn't be more happy with the outcome of my case.

Sandy C.

A Client that tripped on a tall step.

Many clients come to my office after a fall struggling with debilitating injuries and a nagging belief that there was something wrong with the step that caused them to fall. Usually that gut reaction is correct and reflected in the building codes.

Maria Patterson, Premises Liability Lawyer

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Our Successes

Patterson Law takes pride with every client that recovers. Recovery is more than the settlements and verdicts obtained for our clients. Each and every one of these clients had been shepherded through a process where powerful insurance companies fought to defeat or minimize their claims. Each result represents a client’s dignity being affirmed.

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Top Bowie Personal Injury Attorney

George Patterson has received the highest rating for personal injury attorneys issued by Avvo, an attorney rating service.

The tall step fall lawyers at Patterson Law serve clients in Prince George's, Montgomery, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, Howard, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's and Baltimore Counties. Our clients are from Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro, Bowie, Forestville, Prince Frederick, Leonardtown, Annapolis, Edgewater, Rockville, Bethesda, Germantown, Oxon Hill, College Park, Takoma Park, Beltsville, Deale, Severna Park, Largo, Crofton, Columbia and Landover.

Get Started Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a fall caused by an unmarked single step or a tall step that fails to meet code requirements, please contact the tall step fall lawyer, George Patterson for a free consultation at the Bowie office of Patterson Law at 301-383-1522. Each case is different. Past records are no assurance that our lawyers will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case.

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