My Guest Fell Down the Stairs And The Inspector Didn’t Report The Missing Handrail

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ChatGPT is all the rage now. I asked the AI Bot about stairway safety and got a swift response. The homeowner should try to provide a safe environment for their guests – or risk being held responsible.

Gary: In Mississippi, is the property owner responsible for your fall if certain conditions are not met? If so, make a list of the conditions.

CHAT GPT: Property owners must keep their premises safe for visitors in Mississippi. If a property owner fails to maintain their property reasonably safe and a visitor is injured, they may be liable for the visitor’s injuries.

Here is a list of conditions that could lead to a property owner being held liable for a visitor’s fall in Mississippi:

🔹The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the fall.

🔹The property owner had sufficient time to fix the hazard or to warn visitors about it.

🔹The visitor did not know about the hazard and could not have reasonably discovered it.

🔹The property owner’s failure to fix the hazard or to warn visitors about it caused the visitor’s fall.

If a visitor can prove that these conditions were met, they may be able to recover damages from the property owner for their injuries. However, it’s important to note that every case is different, and the specifics of each case will determine whether the property owner is liable for the visitor’s injuries.

Liability Insurance

Gary: Hello, Is this state farm insurance?

State Farm: Yes, it is.

Gary: Ok, great. I want to discuss my liability insurance details.

State Farm: Why? Aren’t you a home inspector? Inspect your home and make the needed repairs!

Gary: Thanks – who do I send the inspection invoice to?

State Farm: – – – Dial Tone – – –


That’s funny and fun; however, seriously speaking, according to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, over one million people in the USA each year suffer from a staircase-related injury.1Learn More These injuries may happen due to stairs not adhering to regular staircase guidelines, code violations, loose handrails, poor stair construction, and other design issues.

Code Requirement

Stairway With Iron Handrail
Stairway With Iron Handrail

Chapter 3 of the IRC is titled “Building Planning” and covers the general requirements for the design and construction of residential buildings. Section R311 is titled “Means of Egress” and deals with the requirements for doors, windows, and other openings that serve as exits in a fire or other emergency.

The most current version of the IRC is 2021. Most local jurisdictions in Mississippi adhere to the 2018 version.2In December 2019, the Mississippi Building Code Council adopted the 2018 editions of the IBC, IRC, IEBC, IFC, IFGC, IMC, IPC and IECC. Learn More. Changes may be made from one edition to another, including updates to the minimum sizes and hardware requirements for egress openings, new requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and changes to the requirements for accessible means of egress for people with disabilities.

I’d love to see Mississippi adopt the most current version of the building code as it’s published. However – that’s politics. I aim to keep you as safe as possible by referring to the latest code(s), so I carry the 2021 version.

The subsection for the 2018 stairway code section is 311.7 Stairways.

Sample Stairway Illustrations

Here are a few stairway-related illustrations from Building Code Trainer and fellow inspector Charles Buell.



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This Article's Footnotes/References

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    In December 2019, the Mississippi Building Code Council adopted the 2018 editions of the IBC, IRC, IEBC, IFC, IFGC, IMC, IPC and IECC. Learn More.

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