Stairwell Accidents

Taking the stairs is a great way to add more exercise to your day. But did you know that nearly half of all falls occur on stairs? Stairway falls can cause extremely serious injuries, including: broken bones; spinal injuries; disc herniations or protrusions; spasms; and sometimes even death.

According to the National Safety Council, there are more than one million stairwell accidents a year in the United States, with 12,000 of those accidents resulting in death. This makes stairwell accidents the second-leading cause of unintended injury, second only to automobile accidents. Not surprisingly, about half these deaths occur at home.

Many stairwell injuries involve children. Nearly 100,000 children each year are taken to hospitals after falling down the stairs. Elderly people are also vulnerable when it comes to stairwells. Unfortunately, when senior citizens suffer a fall, they often do not fully recover and their health quickly erodes.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of stairway falls:

  • Always use the handrail, whether going up or down.
  • Make sure the stairway is well lit.
  • Make sure stairways are clear of obstacles.
  • Keep stairways in good repair.
  • When carrying objects up and down stairs, make sure you can see where you are stepping. This is especially important when carrying small children!
  • Help small children make their way safely down the stairs.
  • Use extra caution if you are wearing high heels or sandals.
  • Do not run going up or down stairs.
Many stairwell accidents are due to negligence. If you are a property owner, here are some tips for making your stairs safe for others:
  • Make sure the stairway is well lit with light switches at the top and bottom.
  • Keep stairways in good repair.
  • Make sure the stairway is uncluttered.
  • If area rugs are at the top or bottom of stairs, make sure they are well secured.
  • Check stairs routinely for worn, loose or frayed carpeting.

Property owners are required to maintain safe stairways to prevent accidents. Replacing light bulbs, maintaining handrails and cleaning up spills are among the property owner’s responsibility. Some stairway accidents occur because of faulty design, such as steps with uneven heights, or failing to have a handrail.

It is estimated that stairwell injuries cost our country between $10 billion to $12 billion a year in terms of health care, short- and long-term disability and lost wages. Recently, there have been efforts to apply the same safety specifications to home stairways that are currently in place for commercial establishments. Studies show that stairwells with steps that are seven inches in height and 11 inches in horizontal tread tend to be safer than those that are steeper and have a shorter horizontal tread.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of a fall on a staircase, our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys can help you get the quality medical care you need, along with helping you recover compensation for pain and suffering related to a stairway fall. Contact our office at (904) 632-0077 for a free consultation.

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