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Accidents on stairs or in stairwells typically involve falling down the stairs. A loss of balance on a stairway is most likely to bring about a fall. There are many different reasons for falls. (1)
Most of the time when you fall down the stairs, the result is you get badly hurt. Serious injuries can require you going to the hospital and needing surgery. Or maybe even a loved one dying.
“Stairs are a common source of injury among individuals of all ages and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing,” says researchers in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (AJEM). (2)
Data analysis indicates “An estimated 24,760,843 patients were treated in emergency departments for a stair-related injury during the 23-year study period, averaging 1,076,558 patients annually, or 37.8 injuries per 10,000 United States residents.” (3)
The researchers continue, “the majority (67.2%) of emergency department visits for stair-related injuries was by individuals 11–60 years old,” even though young children and elderly people make up the highest rates of stair-related injuries. (4)
There are many reasons you might suffer from a stairway accident. Common causes of stairway accidents include:
“Far too many people are hurt and lives lost due to stairway falls,” says the founder of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Underscoring his point, analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data indicate stair mishaps are part of a group (along with ramps and landings) resulting in 36,338 deaths each year. (16)
With respect to stairway accidents, one building safety consultant told Reuters Health, “The term ‘slips, trips and falls’ is a major misstatement of the full complexity of all possible missteps.” (17)
No matter the complexity, stair accidents result in many types of serious injuries.
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These injuries are painful, expensive to treat, can require long recovery times, and are often preventable.
Stairway accidents are widespread. Federal, state, and local governments have put in place laws, regulations, and standards to help protect the public.
At the federal level, general requirements for all stairways in the workplace, are defined by the OSHA Standard Part 1910.25. There are only a few exceptions to this. (29)
OSHA standards require handrails and guardrails, or both, to be provided on all stairways. Vertical clearance (headroom) must be at least 6 feet 8 inches. Stairs must have “uniform riser heights and tread depths between landings.” (30)
Additionally, stairway landings and platforms must be “at least the width of the stair and at least 30 inches (76 cm) in depth, as measured in the direction of travel.” (31)
Each stair must “support at least five times the normal anticipated live load, but never less than a concentrated load of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) applied at any point.” (32)
New York regulations and general requirements dictate “During the construction of any reinforced concrete building or other structure, at least one stairway shall be installed which shall extend to a level not more than four floors or 60 feet, whichever is less, below the uppermost working floor or level.” (33)
New York’s standards and codes go on to establish residential riser heights at “not more than 8-1/4 inches” and tread depths cannot be “less than 9 inches.” (34)
Also, “Any temporary stairway shall not have a vertical rise of more than 12 feet between landings or floors.” (35)
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a stairway accident, contact us to understand your legal rights.Get a Free Case Review
If you have been hurt in a stairway accident, you need an experienced attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you determine if there has been any violation of these standards, codes, and regulations in your case.
After investigating your claims, your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf. In your lawsuit, you are the plaintiff while the company you are suing is the defendant.
Your attorney files your lawsuit with the clerk of the court. The clerk then issues a summons and complaint to be served on the defendant. (36)
In New York, you must file your lawsuit in the county where either party lives. If no party lives in the city, the lawsuit may be filed in the county where either party works or does business. (37)
After the summons and complaint have been served, the defendant has approximately 20 days to respond. Once the defendant answers the summons and complaint, a court date is set. (38)
To win your personal injury case in court, you must establish negligence. Negligence is a legal concept. A case of negligence shows the defendant did not behave with the “level of care” someone of “ordinary prudence” would have under similar circumstances. (39)
Negligence cases are often detailed and complex. Experience in representing clients in these types of cases can prove invaluable to the outcome of your case. For the best possible outcome in your case, you need an experienced negligence attorney.
Weitz & Luxenberg’s personal injury team is experienced with negligence cases in New York. Our attorneys have been helping clients hold those who harmed them accountable for close to 40 years.