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Stairway and Missing Nosing: Wrongful Death

Jun 7, 2023 | Los Angeles Information

A serious stairway accident can result from a missed nosing. The nosing of a stair allows you extra room to place your foot and can also prevent it from slipping. The stairway becomes more hazardous if there is insufficient nosing, especially when you are climbing down.

Through premises liability, the victims of these accidents may hold the property owner accountable.

What is Stair Nosing?

There are two meanings for a stair’s nosing:

  • The portion of the tread that protrudes past the riser, or
  • The strip of brightly colored non-slip material was placed on the tread’s front.

When you walk up or down a stairwell, you place your foot on the tread of the stair. From the top of one tread to the bottom of the tread above it, the riser rises. The tread’s edge or the portion of the tread that extends past the riser beneath it is where the nosing is found.

The nosing’s objectives are:

  • If there are more steps in the stairway, there should be additional room for you to step on,
  • An abrasive surface to prevent your feet from slipping off the edge of the tread, and/or
  • A visual cue indicating where the tread ends.

Numerous jurisdictions have building codes that mandate the installation of nosing when constructing stairs, particularly when the tread depth is less than the required minimum.

How Might a Lack of Nosing Cause a Collision?

Lack of stair nosing can result in an accident in a number of different ways.

One can:

  • Not realize that there is another step in the stairs and tumble down.
  • Not have enough room for your foot on the tread, which can cause you to fall forward, or
  • Lose balance when one’s foot slides off the step.

Additionally, if there is stair nosing but it extends too far past the stair’s edge, it may present a trip hazard. You risk catching the leading edge and falling up the stairs if the tread’s nose is too long. Accidents can also happen because of the nosing profile of a stairwell. The edge may not work to stop your foot from rolling over the end if it is beveled or rounded.

Can Accidents Occur on Other Stairwell Steps?

Yes, the additional features of a stairwell and step can also result in an accident, such as the:

  • Stair risers,
  • Treads, and
  • Railings.

It might be challenging to notice flaws or issues with any of these aspects of a stairway. They probably won’t be noticed by people who don’t frequently use the stairwell. They can suffer a serious fall as a result of this, or wrongfully die.

Treads on Stairs

There are various ways that stair treads can be harmful. If they are, they may cause a fall.

  • Slippery surfaces could result in your foot losing traction and you losing your balance,
  • Weak or worn-out stairs could collapse under your weight,
  • Rotten wooden steps that might tremble when stepped on,
  • Sloped away from the riser, frequently as a result of a rotted stair stringer, which may cause you to lose your balance and fall down the stairs, or
  • Too short, especially if you have wide feet or unstable shoes that are prone to mistakes, which might make it challenging for you to land your foot in a safe area.

Each of these issues has the potential to expose the property owner to liability. They are in charge of ensuring your safety while on the property.

Stair Risers

A stairwell’s riser height can also cause an accident if it is broken, which could break under your weight and send you tumbling, or uneven, which could cause the treads to be at different distances, sending you tripping on one that is too high or dropping on one that is lower than you anticipated it to be.

Before using the stair riser, it is almost hard to see these hazards.

Additionally, if your foot slips between the gap between the treads in a stairwell with open risers, an accident may result.


Accidents can also occur on stairwells because of the railings. The most frequent scenarios in which the stair railing can harm someone are as follows:

  • Missing/lack balusters to prevent a fall into the open space next to the stairwell,
  • Broken or improperly attached to the wall, which could lead to them coming off when you put weight on them and causing you to fall,
  • Too low or high on the wall, which could make them difficult to use and limit their ability to maintain their balance.

Contact a Los Angeles Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has been involved in a stairway accident or your loved one has wrongfully died due to missing nosing on stairs, give our office a call at 310-933-5171. You can find help with other potential cases by visiting this link.