When you enter a building in New York, you may expect to feel relatively safe from accidents. After all, many buildings comply with federal standards established for safety and accessibility. Whether it is a place that is new to you, somewhere you have visited before, or your own apartment or office building, you have a right to move about without fear of hurting yourself.
Unfortunately, many people take dangerous tumbles that result in injuries. A property owner has a duty to protect visitors from any known risks, either by repairing the hazard or warning guests that it exists. When a building owner fails to take these precautions, you may suffer the consequences.
The ground beneath your feet
Nothing is more appealing than to enter a building that is sparkling clean. Cleanliness demonstrates that the owner takes pride in the building and wants to create a welcoming atmosphere for guests. However, while it is important that a property owner keep the floors mopped and polished, this may be the very time when you are most vulnerable to slipping. Wet floors, excess wax or unevenly applied floor treatments can create a hazardous condition that can potentially lead to a hard fall and serious injuries.
Carpeting can create another dangerous situation. If a property owner fails to maintain or replace worn carpets or rugs, you may be vulnerable to tripping. Old carpeting can have tears or bulges that can catch your shoe and cause you to fall. You may also trip over the curling corner of a rug or mat, especially those that are placed in high traffic areas, such as just inside the front door.
Going up… or down?
Falling on stairs can have catastrophic results, such as spinal cord injuries, head trauma and broken bones. It is easy to lose your footing on stairs in good conditions, but a property owner may create a hazard if he or she neglects to remedy any of the following:
- Uneven or broken stairs
- Poor lighting in a stairway
- Debris left on steps
- No non-skid material on the steps
- Polish or other slick substances on the stairs
- Broken or missing handrails
A building that contains an escalator or elevator requires regular professional inspection and maintenance. Accidents on these mechanisms have been known to result in fatal injuries, and property owners are often held to a high standard of responsibility when they have an elevator or escalator on the premises.
Slipping or tripping and falling may be embarrassing, but it can also be painful and potentially life-changing. Seeking legal assistance to understand your options can be almost as critical as receiving the immediate medical attention you need.