Every day, people in New York use a stairwell to get from one place to another. For some there are no other options. Sometimes, however, if not properly maintained, stairwells can become hazardous and significant injuries and even death can result. Recently, a New York man was killed in a slip and fall incident involving a stairwell.

According to reports, the 77-year-old man and his daughter were attempting to use a staircase to leave their building, when the woman decided to go back to get a flashlight so that they could better see where they were going. When she returned, the woman says she found her father had slipped, fallen and hit his head on the concrete; her father’s spinal cord was severed. He died several days later.

Police say that the incident was a result of Hurricane Sandy. Lights had gone out and water had made the stairways slippery. The woman and her family argue that the New York City Housing Authority failed to properly secure the stairwell and should have given notice to residents by placing cones or barricading doors to prevent any incidents like the one that led to this man’s death.

If a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, family members may be able to make a claim for damages against the owner of the premises, if that owner was negligent in maintaining the premises. In cases involving the city, such as the one described above, families may consider a case against the city based on a theory that the city has a duty to maintain the premises.

When a loved one is harmed in a slip and fall accident, family members are often faced with unexpected medical bills and loss of income. Seeking a claim against the owner whose negligent acts led to the slip and fall may provide closure and a sense of justice for those affected by the accident. Before assuming that all the necessary conditions exist for a successful personal injury claim in this or any case, however, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: Times Ledger, “Slip and fall at Hammels kills vet in wake of Sandy,” Christina Santucci, Nov. 15, 2012