Hamilton Stairwell Accident Lawyers
The Attorneys at Cohen and Riechelson Help Determine Liability and Seek Compensation for Stairway Accident Injuries in New Jersey
Many of New Jersey’s residential and commercial buildings are multi-story, and as such, they have stairways connecting the floors. Stairways are common passageways in walk-up apartment buildings especially. Usually, these serve as relatively rapid, if tiring, modes of transportation. Sometimes, however, stairways can lead to serious accidents due to improper construction or maintenance. During icy and snowy New Jersey winters, the threat of stairway slip and fall accidents is amplified, and landlords are responsible for ensuring that their tenants are able to navigate safely through the premises.
If you’ve been injured in a stairwell accident caused by faulty stairs, contact our team at Cohen & Riechelson today. We provide our extensive experience to injured individuals in need of personal injury legal representation in Lawrence, Hamilton, Trenton, Windsor, Woodbridge, Princeton, Mercer County, and throughout New Jersey. Contact us for an initial free consultation by calling (609) 528-2596.
Stair Defects and Safety Standards in New Jersey
All stair construction is subject to New Jersey and federal safety standards. The United States Department of Labor classifies stairs as one of two types – fixed and mobile – and each must abide by certain standards. The most common stairways we traverse every day are fixed. Mobile, or temporary, stairways, include those used by contractors and construction workers, and they usually do not have widely authorized access.
Despite the fact that they’re fixed, however, stairways can be subject to a number of defects. Common defects include uneven or inadequate width, depth, or height; dangerous angles of decline; slippery surfaces due to wear or weather; and construction improprieties that render them wobbly, uneven, or subject to collapse.
Mobile stairways face even further hazards than those fixed staircases may display, including uneven foundation, improper construction and insufficient weight bearing, and likelihood of collapse due to imbalance or other issue. For example, two people were injured in Fairfield in Essex County last year when a temporary stairway in a condominium construction collapsed.
Risks and Injuries Associated with Stairway Accidents
Aside from the obvious risks posed by a completely collapsing staircase, there are less dramatic yet no less injurious risks to traversing defective stairs in an apartment. Stairway slips, trips, and falls can cause broken and fractured bones, bruised bones, especially the coccyx and ribs, whiplash, twisted joints including the ankle and knee, head and neck injuries, vertebral column injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
Specific Stair Construction Regulations and the IRC Guidelines
New Jersey stairway construction is regulated by the International Residential Code for Building. This code governs how stairs, handrails, and other elements of the stairwell, including turning angles, must be constructed to meet safety standards. According to the IRC New Jersey Residential Building Code, stairways must be no less than three feet in width with handrails protruding into the stairwell no more than 4 ½ inches. The rise between stairs may legally be between 7 ¾ inches and 8 ¼ inches and be between 9 and 9 ⅜ inches in depth. Additional regulations exist regarding the required minimum headroom, bevel angle, and maximum stairway slope. As is clear, the IRC standards are very strict and must be followed to the tee by building owners.
Watch Your Step!
The best way to prevent stair accidents is to move slowly and mindfully up and down stairways and hold the handrail. Report dangerous circumstances to your landlord as soon as you notice them, for example, if a handrail is coming off the wall or if a board is loose, causing uneven footing that could cause a trip. Around entryways, be mindful of deposits of water that could have been left behind due to rain or snow.
Filing a Claim After a Stairway Accident in NJ
Apartment landlords are responsible for ensuring that their stairways meet IRC standards, as well as maintaining them in tip-top condition and equipping them for safety in inclement weather. If you have been injured in a slip, trip, or fall due to a faulty or ill-maintained stairway, you may have the right to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit. To ensure that you make a strong case and receive maximum compensation for your injury expenses, you need the support of an experienced premises liability attorney.
Contact our Hamilton, New Jersey Stair Accident Lawyers for Assistance Today
An attorney at our renowned personal injury firm will help you build a strong case for negligence while you focus on healing. We will help you gather the necessary documentation, such as taking pictures of the accident scene and weather conditions and writing a thorough account of the accident. Our lawyers will also act as your representative, speaking with your landlord’s insurance agent, as they will likely try to contact you to diminish your claim. Additionally, our knowledge of New Jersey premises liability law will help you ensure that the state’s laws are justly followed, and you receive the absolute maximum compensation you deserve for medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and long-term damages.
If you’ve been injured in a stairway or stairway accident in an apartment complex or another building or facility in New Jersey, contact Cohen & Riechelson today at (609) 528-2596. We’ve handled numerous injury cases with exceptional results in Robbinsville, South Brunswick, Ewing, Burlington, Pemberton, West Windsor, Hopewell, Hightstown, Metuchen, Princeton, and towns across Mercer County, Middlesex County, and New Jersey and are committed to ensuring that you get financially and physically on your feet again.