In New York City, there are many areas where stairs can pose a safety hazard. A study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has stated that over 1 million Americans injure themselves on stairs each year. Researchers behind the study analyzed cases of ER visits due to stairway accidents between the years 1990 and 2012, and these are some of their findings.
While the elderly, young children and young adults in their 20s had the highest injury rates, two-thirds of patients were between 11 and 60 years old. Over 60% of the accidents took place at home, and more than 60% of victims were women. This may be due to the increased time they spend at home during the childbearing and parenting years.
Most patients showed up at the ER for sprains, scratches and fractures caused by slips, trips and missteps. In some cases, victims were carrying objects that blocked their view of the stairs.
There are several ways to prevent stair accidents, though the authors of the study note that future research will be necessary. Stairs should have uniform dimensions and handrails that provide a full power grip. The top step should include a nosing to increase visibility, and slippery surfaces and loose carpeting should be avoided.
Where property conditions are less familiar, such as in stores and shopping malls, a stair accident is often the fault of the property owner. Injury victims can see a lawyer about filing a premises liability claim. If the firm’s investigator finds evidence of inadequate security, poor lighting, stairs that don’t accord with building codes or some other sign of negligence, the owner will be held liable. However, the lawyer will need to factor in comparative negligence, if any, on the victim’s part before he or she negotiates a settlement.