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Falls Down Stairs Can Result in Serious Injuries and Substantial Recovery for Victims

Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents on April 25, 2022

Falls are the top cause of accidental injuries, and the third-leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Slip & falls, along with falls from a height, lead to 6.8 million emergency room visits every year. About 1.1 million of these ER visits result from a fall down a staircase.

A fall down a flight of stairs can happen for many reasons, but regardless of the cause, you can suffer severe injuries from the fall. From bone fractures to spinal cord injuries, falls can disable you.

Here are some reasons why falling down a flight of stairs can result in serious injuries and substantial recovery for accident victims.

What Causes Falls on Stairs?

Most falls on stairs happen while descending the stairs. As you step down, your center of gravity shifts forward. A misstep will send you tumbling down the stairs face first.

Missteps as you descend stairs can happen for many reasons, including:

  • Poor lighting
  • Overstepping the step
  • Loose or missing handrail
  • Slick stair surfaces
  • Broken stairs

The same shift in your center of gravity happens when you step up. But when you fall ascending stairs, you fall forward onto the stairs rather than falling down the staircase. You may injure your face, hands, wrists, elbows, or knees in the fall, but these types of falls are generally not as serious.

What Are Common Injuries from Falls on Stairs?

When you fall while descending stairs, you have little chance of catching yourself. You might twist and grab the handrail. But many falls happen so quickly that you will not have time to catch yourself. 

This means that almost any injury can arise from a fall down a staircase. Some of the more serious injuries include:

Bone Fractures

Bones break when the forces on them exceed their material strength. Fractures during a fall usually happen when you strike a bone on a step, or try to catch yourself and your weight snaps the bone.

Bone fractures usually take eight weeks to heal. But if you shatter a bone, it can take up to a year to heal.

Concussion

A concussion happens when your brain sloshes inside your skull’s cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In a concussion, the brain does not strike the skull. Instead, the pressure exerted on your brain by the CSF to prevent it from hitting your skull causes the brain to inflame and swell.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury

But you could still experience physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, including:

  • Headache
  • Seeing stars
  • Ringing ears
  • Confusion
  • Depression

Concussion symptoms can take up to two months to clear.

Disc Injury

Your spine has structures called discs that cushion the bones of the vertebrae. These discs include a tough annulus surrounding a gel-like nucleus.

A fall down a flight of stairs can damage the discs in your back or neck. If the annulus separates, the nucleus can herniate out of the disc and create a bump. Even when the annulus remains intact, it can weaken and bulge after an accident.

The herniated or bulging disc can compress the spinal cord causing pain that radiates into your limbs. Depending on your injury, you might need spine surgery to treat it.

Spinal Cord Injury

If you fracture a vertebra, a bone fragment could sever your spinal cord. This injury will cause paralysis. The extent of the paralysis depends on the location and severity of the spinal cord injury. In a worst-case scenario, the damage happens high enough in the spine that it paralyzes the lungs and causes death.

What Compensation Can I Receive for Falls Down Stairs?

The compensation you can recover for a slip and fall injury caused by someone else will cover both your economic and non-economic damages. The severity of your injuries will determine the compensation you recover. If you suffer an injury that impacts your ability to work, requires extensive treatment, or permanently disables you, your recovery could be substantial.

Contact Our Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City slip and fall accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600