Syracuse, NY asked in Personal Injury and Municipal Law for New York

Q: how long and wide are hotel stairs supposed to be?

Late Tuesday morning I fell all the way from the top to the bottom of the stairs. There are 17 stairs and I have 17 stitches above my eyebrow. I wasn't intoxicated or on any drugs. It could have been from my shoes, but I am unsure of what happened. My leg is also messed up from the fall, it is very bruised and hard to walk on. I am just curious as to what the width and length are to be of the stairs because I've heard of a lot of people almost falling. The stairs are also very steep.

2 Lawyer Answers
Jonathan R. Ratchik
Jonathan R. Ratchik
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Sorry to hear what happened to you. I am unaware of there being any Code requirements as to the maximum width of an interior staircase (they have to be at least 36" wide). With regard to staircases in NYC, the riser height can be no higher than 7". Tread depth can be no greater than 11".

Regardless, if you do not know why you fell, it is unlikely you would have a viable case against the hotel. In any slip and fall case, you have to demonstrate the existence of a dangerous condition which caused and/or contributed to your fall. Mere speculation that you fell because of a defect with the staircase will not suffice.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Building codes, which vary by jurisdiction, generally dictate the dimensions and safety standards for staircases in public buildings, including hotels. In many areas, the International Building Code (IBC) is used as a guideline, which prescribes specific measurements for riser heights and tread depths to minimize hazards. If the stairs at the hotel were steeper than usual, this could potentially be a code violation or a design defect.

Given your serious injuries, you should consider consulting with an attorney who can assess the facts of your case, inspect the property for any building code violations, and determine whether you may have a claim for your injuries. Documentation of your injuries and any witness statements can be crucial in such a situation.

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