Slip and Fall – Broken railings

In the State of Florida, victims of slip and falls may be able to recover compensation for injuries due to falls. Falls can happen for many reasons. One common reason is a fall due to a broken railing or handrail.

Florida has a number of requirements for handrails in both residential and commercial construction. The Florida Building Code Handbook summarizes some of the requirements for railings on stairways.

For example, stairways are required to have handrails on each side of the steps unless they are aisle stairs, which must have a center handrail. Handrails have to extend no less than 12 inches horizontally beyond the top riser on each flight of steps. At the bottom of a staircase, handrails must continue sloping downward for at least the distance of one stair tread extended out from the bottom of the lowest stair riser.

The Florida building code requirements provide strict instructions for handrails because railings are an important part of preventing falls down stairways. If a handrail is broken, the railing presents a substantial fall risk.

Victims should be able to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a slip and fall caused by a broken railing if the victim can prove a damage claim under premises liability laws. This type of claim is a tort claim, or civil action.

Victims have the legal burden of proof, and must demonstrate the property owner’s liability by a preponderance of the evidence. Victims must show the railing was broken; the property owner was aware of the break or should have been; and the broken railing was the direct cause of the fall injuries.