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New Study Illustrates Danger of Falls on Stairs

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers work tirelessly to get compensation for our clients after they have been harmed in dangerous circumstances. Nevertheless, as any Chicago personal injury attorney will attest, the best situation is the one in which the injury never occurs in the first place.

According to new research published in a study by the medical journal Pediatrics, on average, every six minutes a child younger than 5 is treated for a stair-related injury in a U.S. emergency department. Additionally, a parent or caregiver carrying a child on the stairs accounts for almost one quarter of those injuries. Though the study didn’t give data related to how many children have died as a result of these injuries, it did, however, find that nearly 932,000 children younger than 5 were hurt in stair accidents in the U.S. in the decade from 1999 through 2008; when averaged, that’s more than 93,000 kids a year, or about 46.5 injuries for every 10,000 children under age 5.

Illinois premises liability law is a significant branch of Illinois personal injury law that allows victims to recover after they have been injured on another person’s property, and the negligence of the property owner was the cause of that harm. In order to apply to a set of circumstances, Illinois premises liability law requires a number of factors to be satisfied: the defendant must be the owner or possessor of the land, or “premises” – in this case, the defendants were the campground owners. Additionally, the person or persons on the land of another must be injured by negligence or a different wrongful act; in this particular situation, the campground owners had a duty to maintain the grounds and ensure that they were safe for campers.

As a general rule in Illinois premises liability cases, property owners and landowners are responsible for maintaining safe premises, and they can be liable for injuries that occur on their land as a result of either a failure to ensure safe conditions, or a failure to warn people who come onto the property of potential hazards on the land.

In considering situations such as dangerous stairs, Illinois premises liability law may be triggered if it can be shown that the property owners or managers either failed to maintain the property, created unsafe conditions that caused the injury, or knew about the unsafe hazard but didn’t alert visitors or tenants to this fact. If a fall on the stairs happened because the stairs were not maintained or were otherwise unsafe, the owner of the property may be made to pay compensation to the injured individual.

Nevertheless, according to this recent study, 95 percent of the injruies occurred at home, so the best policy is to take precautions to prevent falls. Children jumping or riding toys downstairs accounted for 2.6 percent of injuries, and another 2.7 percent were still hurt while using baby walkers, reported the study. Being more careful when using these products is a good first step in avoiding falls. The study also gives a number of recommendations, such as installing sturdy, wall-mounted gates at the top and bottom of the flights of stairs, and increasing awareness about how common – and how dangerous – stair accidents can be
Fortunately the investigation also found that the number of injuries each year fell during that period, dropping by 11.6 percent by 2008. This was partially explained by the fact that voluntary safety standards enacted in the mid-1990s and wider awareness about the dangers of baby walkers helped fuel that decline, cutting those injuries to about 1,300 a year. Using even more safety measures can ensure that this number continues to decrease.

If a stair-fall, is, however, the result of dangerous conditions, seek medical attention, and contact an attorney to understand your rights. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers won a $510,000 settlement against a restaurant which caused patrons to wait in area too close to steps leading to downstairs banquet area, leading to our client’s fall down the stairs that resulted in a fractured hip and foot.

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