Those of us living in New York City several years ago remember the harrowing incident of an 8-year-old boy injured when the staircase collapsed in his Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment building. The boy was standing in the interior stairwell of his 5-story building when several of the landings above him suddenly gave way.
Emergency responders rushed the boy to the hospital, and evacuated residents of the top floors through the fire escape – the only exit still available. A spokeswoman for the Building Department later attributed the accident to poor maintenance. The owner of the building was issued a violation for neglecting to keep the staircase safe.
Building staircase accidents are common in New York City. In part, this is due to the relatively high percentage of multi-level apartment buildings in our city. However, there is no question that landlords across New York City are failing to perform their maintenance and safety duties, and thereby putting tenants at risk. A number of advocacy groups have even begun “shame campaigns” aimed at publicly exposing offending landlords.
When it comes to holding these landlords accountable, we take a more direct approach. We use the New York legal system to force building owners and managers to pay compensation for the harm they cause. Our attorneys do not stop until those hurt by defective staircases obtain financial relief.
Laws in New York City require building staircases to be safe. Handrails, safety railings, and the dimensions of the steps themselves must meet specific criteria designed to prevent falls. And of course, staircases must be properly maintained to ensure they are structurally sound and free of hazards. If the applicable standards are not met, and an accident occurs, the owner can be held liable.
The legal issues involved in premises liability cases require the assistance of an experienced personal injury firm. Following an accident, landlords will often claim that they did not cause the dangerous condition or have “notice” of it. We are very effective at gathering the evidence and presenting the legal arguments to refute these claims.
For example, when the owner of an apartment building claims ignorance of a staircase defect, our attorneys can demonstrate to the court that the owner should be responsible anyway. Turning a blind eye to tenant safety is no excuse. We can prove that regardless of whether the owner actually knew about the danger, under the circumstances the owner had a responsibility to find out about it, and to fix the staircase before someone was injured.
At the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel, we stand by the victims of building staircase accidents and make sure they receive the financial compensation they deserve. If you have fallen and been injured on the stairs in your building, contact us today for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122.