This case involved a woman who fell on a small stair in the lobby of a historic hotel. The complaint asked for $700,000 for both medical compensation and lost wages. Specific claims included:
The stairs did not comply with IBC and City Codes
The stair treads and risers exceeded code limitations
The handrail height and location was insufficient
The stairs were damaged and chipped
There was insufficient traction at the top of the stairs
There was insufficient lighting at the black stairs
The building was originally constructed at the turn of the 20th century. The staircase was comprised of two marble steps with three risers located at the main foyer of the hotel lobby. The staircase was remodeled in 1992.
PFCS was hired to:
Perform a forensic inspection, documenting the conditions with diagrams, notes and many photographs showing the current layout of the stairs, handrails and lighting
Perform analysis of all available information including building codes and standards
Deliver our findings in a report
Unfortunately, the allegations against our client were partially correct and the configuration of the stairs could have contributed to the fall. From our report:
Since the stairs were remodeled in 1992, they should have been in conformance with the current codes and requirements at the time... At the time of the accident, there were several code violations. While the handrails were up to code, both the stair treads and risers violated code requirements.
Regarding the plaintiff’s allegations,
The stairs did not comply with IBC and City of Portland Codes: We Agree
The stair treads and risers exceeded code limitations: We Agree
The handrail height and location was insufficient: We Disagree
The stairs were damaged and chipped: Agree (Somewhat)
There was insufficient traction at the top of the stairs: Disagree
There was insufficient lighting at the black stairs: Disagree
The client was grateful to receive this candid analysis early in the case, and they were able to settle the matter fairly, with minimal further litigation expenses.