New Yorkers are no strangers to stairs. Here on Long Island and throughout New York, many residents live in apartments, condos, and other multi-family buildings, requiring them to climb up and down multiple flights of stairs every day. Many businesses, companies, restaurants, and government buildings have stairways that may not be kept in good repair. Whether due to their age or poor design, many of the stairs in New York City and throughout the region simply are unsafe for people to use. When falls happen, people can suffer severe personal injuries.
Here is what you should understand about injuries caused by stairway falls in New York.
How Common are Stairway Falls?
According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 800,000 patients go to the emergency room each year due to injuries sustained in a fall. Although it can be difficult to ascertain just exactly how many of these falls occur on or around stairs, BBC reports that about 1,000 people die each year from stairway-related falls.
Who is Responsible for Stairway Falls?
New York law holds property owners accountable for injuries sustained on their property. In most cases, the property owner will have a specific duty to keep their property, including any common areas and stairs, in safe operating condition for guests and residents. That duty will depend largely on who gets injured, where the injury occurred, and the facts surrounding the injury. Many states still set different standards for what obligations a property owner has, depending on the status of the visitor. New York no longer distinguishes guests in this way.
Instead, New York law simply asks whether it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would be injured in the way that they were injured under the circumstances. This applies regardless of whether the victim is a social guest, visitor, business patron, or even a trespasser in some situations.
If you can prove that the property owner was negligent in creating a hazard or failing to reasonably warn the public of the hazard, the property owner may be held liable. Likewise, a business leasing the property from a property owner may be responsible for the injuries if they undertook the responsibility for routine maintenance and repairs on the property.
Types of Stairway Falls
The most common types of falls experienced on or around stairways generally include:
- Slippery stairs
- Wet or icy stairways
- Broken or damaged steps
- No traction or improper building materials
- Steps not built to proper code (e.g. too big, too small, incorrect height/width)
- Poorly maintained or nonexistent railing
- Unsecure railings
- Rotted wood
- Cracked concrete
- Exposed hazards like nails, screws, or sharp edges
What Compensation is Available for a Stairway Fall?
If you can prove that the injury was directly caused by a defective condition on the property, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Surgical costs
- Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses
- Diminished future earnings
Getting Help After a Stairway Fall on Long Island
From our convenient Lake Success location, the slip and fall attorneys of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP are here to help answer your questions and fight for your rights. If you have been hurt by a negligent property owner, call us today to schedule a completely free case evaluation and find out whether you might be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.