Being a property owner in New York City comes with great responsibility. People from all over the world dream of the privilege of owning a home or business here. The hard work involved in acquiring property here doesn’t end once the home is purchased or the store is up and running. As part of a social contract with everyone else in the city, property owners have a duty to make sure their buildings are consistently maintained and safe from dangers which could cause serious injuries to their guests and customers. When a business owner or landlord fails to live up to this duty and someone gets injured in a preventable slip or trip and fall accident, the property owner can be held liable for economic and noneconomic damages related to the injuries.
The Severity Of Dangerous Step & Staircase Injuries
In general, injuries sustained in falls are some of the most severe among accidental injuries. A tumble down a poorly maintained or broken staircase can cause even more serious injuries, as the victim will make multiple impacts with steps during the fall. Some common injuries suffered in trip and fall accidents on broken steps and staircases include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Ligament damage
- Chronic or acute neck and back pain
- Shoulder injuries
The costs of treatment for these serious injuries can quickly become unmanageable, especially when the injury is severe enough to impair your ability to work. In the most severe cases, various forms of medical treatment may be necessary for the rest of the victim’s life. The elderly are especially vulnerable to these accidents, as falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among senior citizens.
Common Dangerous Step & Stair Conditions
It’s crucial for property owners to be aware of all potential hazards which could cause a slip or trip and fall on steps and staircases. Even a minor lapse in a maintenance routine could allow a dangerous condition to cause an accident which changes the victim’s life forever.
Potential hazards related to steps and staircases include:
- Broken and uneven steps – Broken and uneven steps are especially dangerous because most people won’t notice them until it’s too late. We all instinctively trust that a property is in a safe condition. When a property owner violates this trust and fails to keep their building in safe and working order, a severe fall injury can occur.
- Clutter – Steps and stairs should always be free of any clutter or debris, as any obstruction creates a serious tripping hazard.
- Poor lighting – All staircases should be well-lit so that guests can judge their steps, avoid obstructions, and possibly spot any broken steps.
- Faulty or missing handrails – Handrails are a vital safety measure for any staircase. Property owners should make sure rails are consistently inspected and maintained. A loose or absent handrail poses a serious fall hazard to anyone who uses the staircase.
- Ice and snow-covered steps – Property owners have a duty to clear snow and ice from their walkways, staircases, and all other aspects of their property in a timely manner. Uncleared ice and snow is one of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents.
Falls caused by any of these hazards are likely to constitute negligence, which is the basis for any slip and fall personal injury lawsuit.
Proving Property Owner Negligence
A property owner can be considered negligent and held liable for slip and fall injuries if any of the following circumstances apply:
- He or she directly caused the dangerous condition which led to a fall injury
- He or she received notice of the hazard but failed to address it within a reasonable amount of time
- He or she reasonably should have known about the condition
If your accident occurred recently, we suggest taking photographs of the dangerous condition to use as evidence in a lawsuit against the property owner. Our experienced and knowledgeable Bronx personal injury lawyers can handle all aspects of building a lawsuit on your behalf. This may include:
- Taking photographs of the scene and your injuries
- Collecting surveillance videos
- Obtaining medical records
- Finding witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- Communicating with insurance companies
- Preparing your case for trial
- Presenting evidence and arguing on your behalf in court
- Negotiating out-of-court settlements
How Can A Lawsuit Help?
A settlement or favorable court verdict provides financial compensation for the wide range of difficulties slip and fall victims suffer, including medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning potential, pain, suffering, loss of quality of life, and more. This is often the only way victims can find support and justice after an injury caused by someone else’s carelessness. Our Bronx personal injury lawyers have a track record of helping people in your situation – in one notable example, we recovered $10 million for a client who slipped and fell on train tracks. For more information on how to take legal action against a negligent property owner, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.