New York Stairway Accidents Lawyers
Unfortunately, many stairway accidents occur when unsafe conditions are left unaddressed by property owners. Missing or inadequate railings, loose carpeting, defective stairs, and other hazards can cause a person to slip and fall. Many victims suffer serious injuries which result in an inability to work or perform daily tasks.
If you have been involved in a staircase accident due to a property owner’s negligence, it’s imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy can assist with gathering evidence, securing eyewitness accounts, and demonstrating liability to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation due to you.
Stairway Accidents Are All Too Common
Stairway accidents are both more common and more serious than many people assume. According to National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data, stairs are one of the top causes of product related injuries in the U.S. Men and women in all age groups may suffer serious injuries after an accident on stairs.
In 2018 alone, stair accidents were responsible for 1.2 million emergency room visits in 2018 – greater than the number of accidents involving ATVs, football, swimming pools, hot tubs, fireworks, and trampolines combined.
A fall down a staircase can lead to serious health problems, including:
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Damage to wrist, ankle, knee, and shoulder joints
- Fractures and broken bones
- Herniated discs and other spinal injuries
- Internal injuries
- In extreme cases, paralysis or death
These serious injuries can require extensive medical care, multiple surgeries, lengthy physical therapy, and prolonged medication use. Victims may be prevented from earning a living or engaging in daily activities.
When is a Property Owner Liable for a Stair Accident?
Stairway injuries fall under the category of premises liability. Property owners have an obligation to maintain safe conditions in their buildings. If they are negligent in preventing or addressing unsafe conditions, they may be liable for injuries that occur to tenants, workers, or visitors to their property.
Examples of negligence include:
- Freshly mopped stairs are slick with water, but no signs were put in place to warn people of the danger.
- A leaky roof causes water to pool on the stairs. Although the property owners have been repeatedly notified of the unsafe conditions, they have failed to address the leak.
- A staircase has loose or rotting boards that are clearly unsafe.
- A staircase has uneven risers or treads, excessively long nosing, or protuberances that constitute a trip hazard.
- The handrail is missing or insufficient.
- Building debris is left in a stairwell with poor lighting.
- Freezing rain two days ago caused ice to form on an outdoor staircase, but the property owner failed to apply salt or remove the ice.
Can I Sue for a Stairway Fall?
In order to sue for stairway fall, you must have been injured on someone else’s property. In addition, you must prove that 1) unsafe conditions existed before your accident, 2) the property owner either created or was aware of these conditions, and 3) the property owner did not address them in a reasonable amount of time.
Defendants often argue that the accident was caused by the injured person’s negligence. They may engage experts to inspect the stairs and verify that staircases are up to code. They may argue that the injured person was distracted or impaired, and therefore at fault for the accident.
While a fall is sometimes the clear source of an injury (e.g., a delivery person’s foot breaks through a rotting step and he breaks his ankle), in other cases a fall can exacerbate an existing condition. This is especially common for those with neck or back injuries. In these cases, the defendant will often argue that the injuries existed prior to the accident or are degenerative in nature.
Contact a New York Stair Accident Injury Attorney
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a proven track record of multimillion dollar awards and settlements. If you have been injured in a stairway accident caused by the property owner’s negligence, our attorneys will work tireless to fight for the maximum compensation due you.
Our past verdicts and settlements include:
$3,200,000 settlement to a demolition worker who fell through a defective step
Attorneys Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher secured a $3.2 million settlement for a demolition worker in Brooklyn who was injured on a job site when his foot broke through a loose step.
At the time of the accident, the worker was carrying a 30-pound piece of metal equipment down to the basement. A step near the base of the stairs broke under his foot, causing him to fall roughly two feet.
The man sustained injuries his ankle, lower back, and both shoulders which required extensive medical treatment and multiple surgeries. He was unable to continue working.
$3,125,000 settlement to hotel housekeeping supervisor after fall
Founding Partner Jeffrey A. Block secured a $3.125 million settlement for a hotel housekeeping supervisor who slipped on debris and fell down a metal staircase.
The woman was inspecting vacant rooms when she slipped on plaster and fell onto her back and down the flight of stairs. The fall aggravated three pre-existing herniated discs in her lower spine which left her completely disabled. She suffered severe complications after two surgical procedures and required additional treatment.
$2,650,000 settlement secured for Local 3 Union electrician
Partners Stephen J. Murphy and David L. Scher secured a $2.65 million settlement for a 48 year old electrician who tripped and fell in a depression in a stairway landing.
The electrician foreman worked for a subcontractor during the construction of a large building in downtown Manhattan. Although he had a history of lower back pain, the fall aggravated his existing condition. He continued working for two and a half months after the accident until his pain became so severe he could no longer continue working as an electrician. After conservative treatments failed, he underwent a 2-level lumbar fusion surgery and three revision surgeries.
$2,250,000 settlement secured for a tenant after a fall down apartment stairs
Attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy secured a $2.25 million settlement for a resident at an apartment building who slipped and fell down wet stairs in her apartment building. The 58-year old woman, who made a living selling homemade tamales, occupied an apartment on the top floor of her building. A roof leak caused water to pool on the stairs, creating dangerous and slippery conditions. Previous attempts to repair the roof had not prevented water from leaking through.
The woman sustained a neck injury which led to a herniated disc and cervical radiculopathy, as well as multiple tears in her right shoulder. She underwent surgical procedures to address both the neck and shoulder injuries, but was left disabled.
She was no longer able to work, and her ability to perform daily activities was significantly impaired. Her injuries affected her ability to care for and play with her young grandchildren.
- $1,950,000 settlement for a tenant who fell down the stairs of her apartment building. A longstanding roof leak had cased water to collect on the stairs. The women suffered neck and spine injuries and required surgery.
- $1,900,000 settlement for a woman who slipped and fell down stairs at her workplace. The stairs in the building were slick after being recently mopped, and the employee slipped and fell. She sustained significant neck and back injuries which required fusion surgeries in both her cervical and lumbar spine.
- $1,500,000 settlement for a tenant who tripped on a stair defect. The man was carrying garbage down the stairs of his Bronx apartment building when he tripped over a metal strip on the edge of the stair and fell to the bottom of the staircase. As a result of his neck and back injuries, he underwent fusion surgeries for both his cervical and lumbar spine.
To discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer established in litigating stairway injury lawsuits, please call 212-736-5300. We serve New York and New Jersey.