Stairways can be dangerous and are the site of many serious slip and fall accidents in Long Island and other NY communities each year. Most people don’t think twice about heading up or down stairs, and this lack of attention and focus often leads to falls. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, there are 12,000 stairway accident fatalities across the country each year and over one million injuries, making stairway accidents the second-leading cause of accidental injury. Only motor vehicles cause more unintentional injury.
Stairway accidents fall under premise liability. When your injury on a stairway is caused by the property owner’s negligence, you may have a legal claim.
Common Causes of Stairway Accidents on Long Island
- Broken or loose steps – It's an extreme danger to those who use stairs with broken steps, or lose tile. Whether the stairway is located on public, private, commercial or government property, the owner or manager of that property has a duty to repair broken steps. A failure to maintain or repair the steps that leads to an injury may allow for a personal injury claim or lawsuit to be filed.
- Inadequate lighting – The owner or manager of the property should provide adequate lighting. Bulbs should not be burned out, and lighting that is too dim will fail to adequately illuminate the area for safety. Failure to keep a stairway brightly lit may be considered poor maintenance, resulting in injury. A trip and fall on a dimly lit or unlit stairway may open the door to a premises liability claim against the owner or manager of the property where the accident happened.
- Missing or broken handrails – A missing or broken handrail can lead to a fall that results in very serious injuries, and in some cases, loss of life. Landlords and property owners or managers are required to keep their premises reasonably safe. When this fails to happen because the handrail was broken or missing, you may be able to sue the responsible party.
- Clutter on stairs – Stairways must be kept clear of hazards, including random materials placed on stairs. Some property owners become sloppy, and allow items to clutter up the path, posing a serious danger to those who live, work or visit at the property.
- Unmarked steps – Steps must be marked in a way that allows those who use the area to clearly see where each step begins. If there was a failure to clearly mark steps and it caused an injury in a trip-and-fall accident, the property owner, manager or other responsible party may be held liable for damages.
- Icy, wet or slippery stairways – Especially during the winter months, property owners must pay close attention to the condition of all floors, including those on stairways, and keep them safe and clear from water, snow and ice. A failure to do so could cause a serious slip-and-fall accident.
Types of Injuries in Stairway Accidents on Long Island
Injuries may vary after having an accident on a stairway. Every case is different, but here are some common types of injuries that may occur:
- Broken bones – A fracture is a very serious injury, requiring many months to heal, or longer for more serious breaks. The victim often suffers long-term consequences, including limited mobility and aches and pains that are never fully resolved.
- Traumatic brain injury – One of the most common and deadly types of injuries are incurred when the head suffers an impact. The subsequent bleeding and swelling of the brain restricts oxygen and can lead to permanent brain damage with both physical and cognitive impairments that may never be fully resolved.
- Spinal cord injury – A spinal cord injury is exceptionally difficult to treat, and a full recovery of mobility may be impossible. The location of the injury will determine what areas of the body are affected. In many cases, a severe injury will lead to paralysis, either complete or incomplete. Many victims face an uncertain future with serious impairments.
- Soft-tissue injuries – A soft-tissue injury may take many months or longer to resolve. Heavy bruising, tendon damage, sprains and strains are extremely painful and limit the injured person’s motion, often making it impossible to sit, stand or even lie down comfortably, much less go to work.
How We Can Help
At Goldstein and Bashner, we are experienced in handling premises liability cases and have nearly 40 years of combined legal experience. We have the knowledge and resources to help you achieve a positive outcome to your case, but we also empathize with you as you cope with your serious injuries. Our stairway accident attorneys understand the frustration of dealing with a permanent injury. As our client, you will be represented by someone who has a track record of winning cases and is passionate about seeing you succeed. Call 516-222-4000 for a free consultation today.