Visitor Question

Uneven distance between steps?

Submitted By: Vicky (Tacoma, WA)

In November of this year I fell down 13 stairs at my apartment complex. I live on the 2nd floor. I have measured the distance between the first step (top – the second floor), and the second step. It is about 1 1/2 feet from first step to second step.

I had surgery on my knee a day after the injury. I was unable to have any weight on the knee at all for 12 weeks. To date, I am still unable to walk without the aid of a walker. Also, the carpet that the landlord uses, is always used carpet at the top of the stairs and torn.

Is the large distance between the steps a violation of building code? Do I have a claim?

Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Vicky,

The required distance between steps will depend on the type, size and age of your apartment building. Without the age, type of construction, materials permitted, it’s impossible to tell you with any accuracy the required distance between steps for your specific complex.

To address your issue go directly to the City of Tacoma’s planning department.

Your injuries are very serious. As a result, you should not be handling your own injury claim. Some more minor “soft tissue” injuries can normally be handled without an attorney, but more serious “hard injuries,” especially those where surgery is required, must be handled by a personal injury attorney.

Your best interests would be served by gathering your documentation, especially medical bills, medical records, photographs, etc. and visiting with several personal injury attorneys. Most do not charge for an initial office consultation. You will then be in a better position to know if the apartment complex owner is liable for your injuries.

Learn more here: Building Code Violation Injury Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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