Glenda Mitchell Law Firm

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Injuries involving stairs are becoming more common

Emergency rooms in Georgia and around the country treat an injury involving stairs about every 30 seconds according to a recent study from the Nationwide Children's Hospital. Researchers from the Ohio-based pediatric hospital looked at emergency room data compiled between 1990 and 2012, and they found that ER doctors treated 25 million stair-related injuries during this time. The study was published by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine and released online on Sept. 20.

The study also reveals that injuries have soared in recent years. The number of stair-related injuries fell by 13 percent during the first six years of the period studied before surging by 24 percent between 1996 and 2012. Women were treated for these injuries 62 percent of the time, and injury rates were highest among men and women in their 20s, elderly individuals over the age of 85 and children younger than 3 years of age.

Most of the injuries caused by stairs are minor sprains, strains and bruises, and patients are released after being treated 94 percent of the time according to the report. Steps to reduce the risk of stair-related falls include stricter building codes, handrails that provide more purchase in emergency situations and public service campaigns highlighting the dangers of walking down a flight of stairs with both hands occupied.

When individuals have been injured in a stair-related accident, experienced personal injury attorneys may inspect the stairs involved to determine whether or not negligence may have played a role. If such inspections reveal that needed repair work has not been performed, the lighting provided is inadequate or stairs are obstructed in some way, a premises liability lawsuit could be initiated against the building's owner. Property owners are required to take all reasonable precautions to protect their visitors, and they could be held financially responsible when this duty of care is not met.

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