In North Carolina and the rest of the U.S., injuries incurred on stairs seem to be common across all ages. Researchers in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System that spanned the from 1990 to 2012 and examined the details of ER visits arising from a stair injury. Over 26 million Americans were treated in that period, and over two-thirds were between the ages of 11 and 60.
However, the highest injury rates were among adults aged 85 and older, children 3 and under and young adults in their 20s. More than 60% of stair accidents occurred at home. A lower building standard for home stairways could be partly to blame.
As for a cause to the injuries, 60% of the documented patients did not attribute one. About 23% reported that they slipped, tripped or missed a step while a small percentage claimed they couldn’t see because of something they were carrying.
Stairs can be fraught with safety hazards, such as loose carpeting. Nosings can be a trip hazard, and a missing nosing on the top step could lead to a fall. Researchers state that to avoid an injury, people should ensure stairs have handrails with a power grip, free the stairs of clutter, pay attention at all times and consider changing the stair’s dimensions.
If someone is injured on a public stairway, the incident could qualify as a slip-and-fall accident. A lawyer could analyze the injury claim, determine what the client is eligible for in damages and see if there was any contributive negligence. For example, if the stairs were not made in accordance with building codes, the property owner may be at fault for this. However, inattentiveness on the victim’s part may count as contributive negligence and lower the settlement.