Slips and falls on any surface can lead to serious injury, but when it happens on a staircase, the results can be far more catastrophic. Falls make up a large number of daily injuries in New York, and fatalities due to falling down a staircase are alarmingly common. While such a fall can happen simply due to carelessness, there are also quite a few causes that are avoidable and can result in legal liability for a property owner after a fall occurs.

Broken stairs are among the most serious causes of a slip or fall on stairs, and can occur in a few different ways. There are two basic parts to stairs, the run and the riser. The riser is the part of the stairs that goes up vertically, while the run is the horizontal part of the stair that a person places his or her feet on. Broken runs can result in serious injury if a person’s foot goes through the stairs or twists or slips off due to cracks in the surface. Risers can also be damaged due to long-term use, and crumbling concrete or bricks in outdoor stairs can seriously compromise their safety.

Handrails are also important and legally required for most stairways. Broken handrails can result in a person becoming off-balance while going up or down the stairs, or create tripping hazards if the rails are no longer properly aligned.

In any situation with broken stairs, it is very important to immediately notify the property owner about the damage, and document the notification. If someone is injured due to broken stairs, it is important to prove that the owner knew about the issue ahead of time. The property owner must then take reasonable steps to repair the damage and provide a safe area to pass through during the construction.

Slippery stairs due to water or ice can be very dangerous, especially outdoors. While some slippery conditions can be unavoidable, property owners need to take action to ensure stairs remain as safe as possible. Non-slip coatings and materials can be used to keep stairs safe to use even during rain, snow, and serious winter conditions in New York City.

There are building codes in place regarding the size of risers and runs on stairs, as well as how even each one must be. When these codes are not properly met, the property owner can be liable for injuries that occur because of a fall or slip on the stairs, due to codes not being followed. While it can be difficult to prove that an accident definitely occurred due to stairs not being to code, a code violation is often strong evidence of liability in any injury case. To speak to a New York staircase slip and fall attorney, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP today, at (212) 986-7353, if you or a loved one has been injured due to a slip or fall on stairs.