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How unsafe buildings can lead to wrongful deaths

Washington state’s variety of office buildings, shopping malls and multi-story stores should be safe for visitors, workers and patrons. However, if the owners of these buildings do not properly maintain their respective buildings, the possibility for a serious injury increases. In fact, a person may even suffer a wrongful death due to negligence in building maintenance and upkeep.

FindLaw points out that under premises liability, property owners are held responsible for injuries and accidents that people suffer while on their property, such as slipping and falling due to a slippery or faulty floor. Liability is determined by a number of factors, including the legal status of the person who suffered injury and if it was reasonable that the property owner should have known about the fault that caused the injury.

Some unsafe building defects that may result in wrongful deaths can include the following:

Banisters and Railings

A staircase railing helps sustain a person as he or she climbs up or down a flight of steps. Railings are especially crucial for the elderly or anyone who is infirm and suffers from weakness in the limbs. But if a railing is too old or defective, it might break loose. A person using the railing could be flung over and fall down to a bottom floor. Similarly, balcony banisters can break off and cause a person to plunge from a great height.

Elevators and Escalators

According to the BestLife website, the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine published a study that discovered 10,000 injuries are sustained on escalators in America each year, while 7,000 people are hurt on elevators. If an elevator or escalator is too dangerous to be used, it should be shut down and signs or notices erected to warn people about it.


Property owners also have the responsibility to make sure the wiring in their buildings is secure. Frayed or broken wires could cause a person to be electrocuted if the individual comes into contact with the wires. Standing or spilled water on the floor could also increase the risk of an electrocution if it interacts with broken electrical wiring.

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