Mature man climbing subway steps

Stair Accidents: Unsafe Stairways and Identifying Negligence

Slips and falls are common accidents. They can happen in stairways, parking lots, hallways, elevators, escalators, apartment buildings, supermarkets and even private properties. Broken stairs and steps are often a common cause of slips and falls.

Stairways are not as safe as you think. Believe it or not, there are about two dozen ways in which stairs and steps can be dangerous. The next time you have to climb steps, you’ll want to think twice before you get too confident and start skipping steps or running down the stairway.

Types of Unsafe Stairs and Steps

 Falling down stairs is easy to do, considering that there are many types of slip, trip and fall hazards when it comes to stairs. Angled and curved stairs, for example, are dangerous because they are not uniform and often leave little space for walking. Also, many stairways are prone to collapse due to a lack of secure attachment.

Handrails—or a lack thereof—are another issue. One of the biggest deceptions in stair climbing is encountering a handrail that is too wide for you to hold onto. This gives you no assistance when it comes to steadying yourself, so you can prevent a fall. In fact, if the handrail is too high, too low or not secured, then that can be worse than having no handrail at all.

Loose stair treads and materials are also common and can lead to slips and falls. Stairs can be made of wood, brick, tile and other materials. Should any of these materials come loose, and you step on them, you could trip and fall, causing serious injuries.

Determining Negligence for Stair Accidents

One of the common distinctions made in determining negligence for a slip and fall accident is the state and city building code. As the NYC building code states “The owner shall be responsible at all times to maintain the building and its facilities and all other structures regulated by this code in a safe and code-compliant manner.”

The NYC Building Code specifically lays out the minimum requirements all interior and exterior stairways must meet including capacity, construction, width, handrails, and obstruction considerations. You can find the full details of the NYC Building Code here. If you suffered a slip and fall accident on a staircase that violates any of these requirements you may be entitled to compensation from the property manager.

Additionally, as we enter the winter seasons wet and icy outdoor stairs pose a risk for accidents to occur. If the stairs aren’t effectively treated with salt or other anti-slip agents the property manager could be found liable for any accidents that ensue.

How to Prevent Falls on Steps

 While property managers are required to ensure your safety, you too can avoid slip and falls down stairs by taking the following precautions:

  • Walk slowly. Never run or skip steps.
  • Remove snow, leaves and other debris.
  • Wear heavy, solid shoes. Avoid flip-flops and other flimsy footwear.
  • Ensure adequate lighting. Avoid ascending stairs in the dark.
  • Don’t store items on the steps or leave electrical cords on them.
  • Remove rugs from the top of a stairway. These are trip hazards.

Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer

If you fell down stairs or had a family member injured by broken stairs, seek legal help. Typically, a negligent home owner or property manager is to blame. It’s important to hold them liable so you can receive compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum to schedule a consultation with an experienced Brooklyn slip and fall accident lawyer. Contact our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586.

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