Property owners are part of what’s made New York City into one of the world’s greatest cities. They’ve helped build the city up through various businesses, homes, and apartment complexes. But owning property comes with great responsibility. All property owners in New York City have a legal obligation to keep their buildings reasonably safe and free of hazards that could result in injuries to guests and tenants. You would think that making sure steps and staircases are safe to use would be an easy obligation to meet, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Throughout the city’s five boroughs, countless people suffer preventable injuries due to slip and fall accidents on dangerous steps and staircases.
Common Hazardous Conditions On Steps & Staircases
As a property ages, it gradually wears down and deteriorates. Responsible property owners understand this and make sure to conduct regular maintenance and inspection routines, making the necessary repairs and updates when a dangerous condition arises. Unfortunately, some negligent property owners fail to properly maintain their properties, and a preventable hazard ends up causing a serious injury.
Some common hazardous staircase conditions cited in personal injury lawsuits include:
- Broken steps – A broken step is extremely dangerous, as it can easily crumble when someone puts their weight on it. This can easily lead to a fall down the staircase.
- Uneven steps – Uneven steps are dangerous because they make it difficult to find your footing. Injuries can happen when someone misjudges their landing.
- Cluttered stairs – Property owners have a duty to make sure their stairs are clear of any clutter, obstructions, or debris. Clutter creates a tripping hazard, and people using the stairs may have to make awkward movements to sidestep the clutter, which can result in a fall.
- Poor lighting – It’s important for all aspects of a property to be well-lit for safety, but this is especially true for staircases. If you’ve ever had to descend stairs in the dark, you understand how dangerous this can be. It’s extremely difficult to time your steps, and nearly impossible to see any obstructions that could be in your path.
- Faulty or missing handrails – A safe handrail seems like it should be the bare minimum for safety, but not every NYC property has safe ones. Some staircases in the city may lack a handrail altogether. This makes it difficult to maintain your balance when going up or down stairs, especially steeper staircases.
- Slick and icy steps – Property owners have a duty to clear all staircases, sidewalks, and walking paths of snow and ice in a timely manner. Slip and fall accidents on slick sidewalks are extremely dangerous, but a fall from an ice or snow-covered staircase can result in even more severe injuries.
If you were injured in a fall on dangerous steps and believe a negligent property owner may be to blame, you can find out more about your legal rights in a consultation with a Queens personal injury lawyer.
When Are Property Owners Liable For Fall Injuries?
In order to hold a property owner liable for injuries suffered in a fall on dangerous stairs, you must prove one of the following three things:
- The property owner caused the hazardous condition
- He or she was notified of the hazard but didn’t address it in a timely manner
- He or she reasonably should have known about the hazardous condition – meaning that another responsible property owner would have been aware of the hazard
Building a solid personal injury lawsuit against a property owner usually requires the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in slip or trip and fall cases.
How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
In order to build a successful court case against a negligent property owner, you’ll need to demonstrate that the property owner failed to meet their legal obligation to keep their property safe. Additionally, you’ll need to prove that this negligence directly caused your accident and injuries, which have resulted in economic losses. An experienced Queens personal injury lawyer can work with your doctors to gather medical evidence, investigate the scene of your accident, and determine if the property owner was in violation of building codes or general safety rules.
We understand that injury victims are often saddled with financial stress. That’s why we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis – meaning you only pay us at the end of the lawsuit if we help you earn financial compensation.