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Property owners should prioritize stair safety

A slip-and-fall accident can happen anywhere, but if you fall going up or down the stairs, you could suffer severe injuries.

Property owners and other responsible parties have a duty to prioritize stair safety since a defect, obstacle or construction issue can cause a serious accident to occur.

About stair accidents

According to a 2017 study reported in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than one million injuries result from falls on stairs annually. In fact, a stairway fall is the second leading cause of accidental injury in the U.S. Although such accidents occur to elderly people, the study found that 67.2% of stairway falls represent a combination of older people and younger children.

OSHA regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides detailed regulations for laying out stairs in any kind of workplace from office buildings to industrial buildings to recreational facilities. For example, stairways must include handrails and each platform and landing area must be at least 30 inches deep.

Common injuries

Falls on stairways can cause devastating injuries such as broken bones, head and neck injuries, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding and dislocation of extremities. The type and severity of an injury depend on the way you fall—forward or backward—or whether there was carpeting to soften your landing.

Treatment and recovery

Serious injuries may call for surgery followed by physical therapy. The most severe injuries might require long-term rehabilitation and even ongoing home care. The landlord, manager or property owner responsible for stairway safety where you fell may face liability for your injuries. You have the right to expect full and fair financial compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and more.