A study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has shown that over 1 million Americans are involved in stairway accidents each year, costing in the aggregate approximately $92 billion in medical bills and other direct and indirect expenses. Residents of West Virginia, no matter their age, should take note because over two thirds of those treated in emergency rooms were between 11 and 60, which is a fairly wide age range.
Over 60 percent of patients were women, and the majority of stair-related injuries occurred at home. Most of the incidents recorded led to scrapes, bruises, or sprains, while a minority resulted in fractures and concussions. A little over 20 percent of accidents were attributed to a slip and fall, while others said that they were holding objects that blocked their view of the stairs. The majority of patients did not pinpoint any cause.
An uneven horizontal and vertical surface can commonly lead to missteps, the study notes. A nosing that overhangs a stair could create a trip hazard, whereas not having a nosing on the top step could obscure its visibility. Some stair patterns create optical illusions that make people think they’re on the bottom step. Issues external to the stair design, such as loose carpeting and slippery surfaces, also contribute to injuries.
Many of these slip and fall accidents happen at commercial establishments as well. The owners of public property are required to keep their premises free from hazards. If a person who is shopping trips on a set of stairs due to a dangerous condition, then an attorney representing the victim could seek compensation for the client’s losses through a premises liability lawsuit filed against the owner.