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Stair use and injuries

A study released in the 'American Journal of Emergency Medicine" states that over a million people in California and the rest of the country sustain injuries from stair use each year. Although some groups, such young children, women and older adults tend to report more cases of injuries, victims of all age groups make visits to the emergency department for injuries like fractures, strains, bumps and sprains.

According to information from the Census Bureau, nearly half of the homes in the United States have stairs. Stairs are reported to be a frequent cause of injury for people of all ages. The cost of nonfatal injuries that result from the use of stairs is almost $92 billion. These statistics highlight how important it is to have prevention measures in place, especially with regard to the construction and design of stairs.

Researchers who conducted the study examined information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System pertaining to stair-related injuries that emergency departments treated from 1990 to 2012. The data showed that about 25 million people received care in emergency rooms during that period. The number corresponds to an average annual rate of nearly 38 injuries related to stair use for every 10,000 residents.

From 1990 to 1996, the rate of injuries dropped nearly 13 percent and then increased by 24 percent during 1996 to 2012. Over 60 percent of the injuries took place at the patient's home, 60 percent of which were women.

Individuals who sustain injuries while on someone else's property may have legal recourse under premises liability law. A personal injury attorney may investigate to determine if the negligence of a property owner led to the adverse conditions, such as inadequate lighting, icy sidewalks and wet floors, which contributed to slip-and-fall accidents or trip hazards.

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