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Liability for Staircase & Stairwell Accidents

Staircases are everywhere in New York — apartment buildings, subway stations, train stations, shopping malls, office spaces, and city buildings. No matter the location, stairwells and staircases must be kept in a safe condition. Poorly maintained or defective staircases can cause slip and falls, trip and falls, and other accidents. If you suffered injuries due to a fall on stairs that happened due to someone else’s negligence, they may be liable for your damages under the theory of premises liability.

Staircase Accidents in Commercial Buildings

A building or property owner has a duty to ensure their premises are free from hazards that can cause injury to another. Staircase and stairwell accidents can be caused by dangerous conditions such as: 

  • Defective handrails
  • Broken steps
  • Loose carpeting
  • Poor lighting
  • Liquid, rain, or snow on steps
  • Debris
  • Building code violations

If the owner, property manager, employee, or another responsible party caused the condition, had notice of it and didn’t repair it, or should have reasonably known about it, the property owner may be held liable for negligence. 

Apartment Building Stairwell Accidents

Many New Yorkers have public stairwells in their apartment buildings. Whether it’s a walk-up or a high-rise, these areas of an apartment building must be kept safe for tenants and their guests.

If you slipped and fell or tripped and fell on an apartment building staircase, your landlord may be held liable for negligence — under the theory of premises liability, you must show that the landlord, maintenance staff, property management company, or another responsible party knew (or should have known about) a defective condition and they failed to repair it. You must also establish that their failure to do so directly caused your injuries.

A landlord or their agent may also be liable for your injuries if there was a dangerous condition they knew about and failed to warn — a landlord can warn by placing a “wet floor” or “broken step” sign. 

Subway and Train Station Staircase Accidents

Millions of people use the New York City subway system and trains daily. However, the steps leading to the platform are not always well maintained or in good repair. Numerous hazards can cause trip and falls or slip and falls on the steps — ice, slush, snow, and freezing rain are common conditions in the winter that can cause injuries if not removed or cleaned.

If you suffered injuries resulting from a subway staircase accident, the MTA may be held liable for negligence. It’s important to note that in cases involving the MTA, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days from the date of the accident to preserve your right to commence a personal injury action.          

Stairwell and Staircase Accident Injuries

Tripping and falling or slipping and falling in a stairwell can lead to severe and lasting injuries. It’s crucial to immediately seek medical attention after falling on a staircase, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Certain injuries may not develop or become apparent until days later. 

Stairwell and staircase accident victims may require extensive medical treatment and physical therapy. Your doctor may conduct diagnostic tests such as MRIs, EMG-NCVs, X-Rays, or CT scans. Injuries in a stairwell accident can include broken bones, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, nerve damage, broken hips, and soft tissue injuries.

If someone’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. In a personal injury action, you may be able to recover economic damages, including unreimbursed medical expenses, future medical expenses, and lost wages. You may also be awarded non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.  

Contact a Staircase Accident Attorney

If you sustained injuries as a result of a defective or poorly maintained stairwell or staircase, it is essential to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away who handles premises liability cases. In any stairwell or staircase accident, there are strict statutes of limitation that begin running from the date of the accident and shorter ones if the claim involves a municipality. If you slipped and fell due to another’s negligence, The staircase accident attorneys at Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help you obtain the maximum compensation available for your injuries. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a free consultation.  

John P. Dearie

John P. Dearie is a graduate of Regis High School, The University of Notre Dame, and St. John’s University School of Law. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for two years following law school graduation, he joined The Dearie Law Firm in 2011.

John represents injured New Yorkers in third-party negligence litigations, as well as first responders, workers, volunteers and residents in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.