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Premises Liability

Stairway major cause of childhood injuries

Stairs appear deceptively harmless. Some of this illusion may be because stairs are so common. But that ubiquity may be one of the reasons why stairs are such a frequent source for accidents among children.

A child under 5 years old is rushed to an emergency room every six minutes in the United States, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in its 2012 study. Specifically, the study found that more than 93,000 children under 5 were treated for stair-related injuries in this country from 1999 through 2008.

The condition of the building or residence is a factor in staircase accidents. Stairs must be kept clear of clutter and in good repair. Handrails should be installed. For children, gates should be used at the top and bottom of the stairs although there should be parental supervision when a young child is using the stairs.

A landlord or building owner violates the standard of care owed to their guests and residences by failing to keep stairs in good repair and up to building codes. Allowing debris on stairs, a slippery surface, and worn and rounded steps may constitute grounds for a lawsuit against the owner of the premises.

Victims of a fall in a home or business may be entitled to compensation for serious injuries, lost wages and other injuries where the building’s owner is negligent and aware of an unsafe condition. Prompt legal advice should be sought to assure that victims’ rights are protected in legal proceedings, settlement negotiations and discussions with insurance companies.

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