The charm of New York is inescapable. While other cities around the U.S. sometimes seem indistinguishable from each other, New York’s skyscrapers, brownstones, and walk-ups give the city a look and feel all its own.
But those walk-ups, brownstones, and other residential buildings that make New York unique – charming though they are – also come with hidden risks. It’s common for older buildings and buildings that have not been well-maintained to have uneven staircases, and uneven staircases increase the chances that someone will fall.
The Importance of Uniform Risers
Though modern building codes have dictated the required height and construction of stairways for decades, millions of people are seriously injured each year as a result of falling on stairways. In fact, stairways are one of the most dangerous features commonly found in residential spaces.
The height of each step is incredibly important in causing or preventing trips and falls. When steps are uneven, it becomes much easier to fall down them, and with a vertical drop often of 8 feet or more, a fall on a staircase can cause serious and even fatal injuries.
Trying to walk up or down a flight of stairs with uneven risers is similar to trying to walk stairs with one shoe on and one shoe off. The simple difference in the height of one shoe can cause you to trip.
Ideally, the risers on staircases will be uniform, and the earliest codebooks said steps should have risers all the same height with only a 3/8 -inch difference between the risers over the span of the stairs.
When the risers on staircases are not even, people are likely to trip on the higher riser when they’re going up the stairs or to stomp down hard when they’re going down the stairs.
You Don’t Have to Just Accept the Danger
If you have been injured on a staircase with uneven risers or live in a building with uneven stairs, you have options available. If you are worried that you might be injured, you have a right to demand that your landlord fix the staircase. If you have already been injured because of falling on an uneven staircase, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our office to schedule an appointment so we can discuss your options with you.