Falls on staircases are one of the most common incidents in the United States. According to the National Safety Council, falls on staircases are the second-leading cause of injury in the United States after motor vehicle crashes. Every year, more than 1 million injuries occur as a result of stairway falls, including more than 12,000 fatalities. Falls also continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the elderly.
These statistics are a grim reminder that falls down staircases and stairwells can be extremely dangerous. Although the insurance industry would like you to believe that falls down staircases are all due to inattention, in truth falls are often due to the negligence of property owners and building managers.
Common examples of such negligence include:
- Broken or worn-out stairs
- Uneven stair risers
- Poor lighting
- Broken or missing handrails
- Garbage and debris on the stairs
- Dangerous landings
- Code violations
In New York, an owner is required to maintain its property, including staircases and stairwells, in a reasonably safe condition, and to comply with the local building code. Property owners also need to warn of unsafe conditions and to repair dangerous staircase conditions of which they have notice.
Determining whether a staircase is dangerous or defective can be complex and difficult to be prove. If you’ve been injured following a fall on a staircase, contact one of the attorneys at Kramer, Dunleavy & Ratchik, PLLC, for a free consultation. We have substantial experience representing the victims of staircase falls and can help identify whether a building owner’s negligence played a part in the incident.