is it illegal not to have railings at an apartment building?

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is it illegal not to have railings at an apartment building?

My girlfriend fell down the stairs of an apartment building where she lives when her ankle gave out. She believes if the building would have had railings she could have probably avoided pain and suffering from the fall. Shouldn’t an apartment complex have railings for tenants, especially for tenants with disabilities? Can she sue? Should we speak to a personal injury attiring? In Chesterfield County, VA.

Asked on September 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as she can.  The  attorney will have to do some investigation as to the requirements of your city/county/States regarding handrails.  Most large cities and even small towns have entire portions of their building codes dedicated to handrails and when they have to be used and when they do not have to be used.  Buildings that have a certain number of tenants generally always have to have handrails.  And you are correct: there are federal statutes that deal with the disabled that may apply. Also have the attorney's investigator check the steps.  The hight or the rise and the width of the step could also have contributed to her fall.  Good luck.


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