Building Code Expert Witness Discusses Dangerous Hotel Staircase


Stairway Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a middle aged man who fell through a staircase. The Plaintiff and his wife were staying as guests at the Defendant motel. The Defendants constructed and maintained a staircase that allowed guests to access rooms on the first floor of the motel directly from the parking lot, however the staircase was built with no handrails or guarding. On the date of incident, the Plaintiff and his wife were leaving their room in the morning when he fell and suffered a severe head injury, which caused permanent brain damage and will require a lifetime of ongoing care. It was alleged that the stairway was not built in accordance with local building codes.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the relevant safety standards and codes as they pertain to stairways, particularly in a hotel setting?
  • 2. What could have been in place to prevent this accident from occurring?

Expert Witness Response E-023284

I have completed several cases focusing on stairways, both for plaintiff and defendant. I am a Licensed Architect with 30 years experience. I am proficient with building code requirements as well as ADA/Accessibility issues as they specifically pertain to stairways. I’ve worked on several cases at prominent hotel chains that involved the construction of stairways and accidents that allegedly resulted from construction inadequacies. Commercial stairways are required to have handrails on each side on a national level. There are also several other requirements for stairways, including consistency of riser dimensions, tread dimensions, width requirements, nosing requirements. From the information provided above it would appear that these stairs would not have been in compliance with building codes due to the lack of handrails.

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