According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, over 1 million people injure themselves on stairs every year. Older adults and young children are more likely to sustain injuries, but the truth is that anyone is at risk. The most common injuries sustained in stair-related incidents include sprains, strains, contusions, scrapes, and broken bones, but it is not uncommon for more serious injuries such as head trauma to occur. Many stair accidents are caused by the negligence of a property owner or manager.
Property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition free from hazards. This duty includes stairs or staircases on the property. It is important that stairs and railings be designed, built, and maintained with safety in mind. Dangerous staircases can lead to trip, slip, and fall injuries or even stairway collapses.
Causes of Stair-related Injuries
Unsafe conditions on someone’s property are frequently the cause of slip or fall accidents or stairway collapses. Both inside and outside staircases must be properly built and maintained. Stair conditions that can cause injury include:
- Uneven steps
- Wobbly or chipped steps
- Defective banisters or handrails
- Poor lighting
- Worn or loose carpet
- Disproportionate height/depth
- Improper distance between landings
- Faulty design or construction
- Failure to meet building codes
- Rotted steps or support materials
- Water or ice on the stairs
If stairs are unsafe for any reason, the property owner must fix the condition immediately or to at least post signs warning people of the danger.
Proving Liability for Stair-related Injuries
To prove liability for an injury caused by a staircase, the following elements must be proven:
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous or defective conditions on the stairway.
- The owner did not take steps to fix the dangerous condition.
- Someone was injured
- The injury resulted from the dangerous condition.
In many cases involving stairway accidents there are violations of the building code. These violations can range from issues such as not having proper handrails, having steps that are different heights, or having crumbling or broken steps. Doing an investigation and photographing the defective conditions before an owner or landlord changes them is imperative.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a staircase related incident, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.