A study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that injuries incurred on stairs are common to all age groups. Researchers analyzed over 25 million cases of Americans going to the ER due to stairway injuries between the years 1990 and 2012; although the highest injury rates were among the elderly, children 3 and under, and young adults in their 20s, over two-thirds of patients were between the ages of 11 and 60.
Slips, trips and falls were the most common cause of stairway accidents, leading to sprains, strains, fractures and, especially in the case of children 10 and under, head injuries. Over 60 percent of accidents took place at home, and over 60 percent of the victims were women.
The Census Bureau stated that stairway injuries cost Americans about $92 billion every year in medical bills and other costs. The authors of the study argued for a revision of stairway building construction codes and the updating of current stairways for optimum safety.
Suggestions include installing handrails with a power grip, making the dimensions of the stairs uniform, adding a nosing to the top step for better visibility and decluttering. The authors also pointed out that some stair patterns create a dangerous illusion that one is at the bottom of the stairs.
If someone is injured on a flight of stairs on public property, he or she may be able to file a premises liability claim to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and anything else that’s applicable. A lawyer may hire investigators to gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence: For instance, the owner may not have given sufficient warning about the stairs having a wet surface.