How can wheelchair ramps be dangerous?

Premises Liability

Many people in New York rely on wheelchair ramps to access buildings. Whether a person is in a wheelchair, uses a walker, has a stroller, or needs help going up an incline, a wheelchair ramp is an important structure. But it may be surprising to learn that a wheelchair ramp can actually be dangerous.

There are several ways in which a wheelchair ramp can be dangerous and cause serious injuries. These include:

  • Wheelchair ramps that are too steep. A wheelchair ramp needs to have the slope of 1:12. That means that for every foot a ramp goes up it needs to be 12 feet long. If a ramp is too steep there is a risk of tipping backwards or causing serious falls.
  • Ramps without handrails. In most cases, a ramp that is over 6 feet long needs to have handrails. A ramp can become slick and dangerous in the rain, ice or snow and without a handrail a user may not be able to catch themselves if they fall.
  • Wooden ramps. Wooden wheelchair ramps are especially dangerous. The wood can rot over time causing the ramp to cave in. A wooden ramp can also be very slippery when it gets wet. A wooden ramp should be coated in a slip-resistant paint to help it be less slippery.

If a person was injured on someone else’s property, they may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in premises liability. A bad fall can result in broken bones, a head injury, or other serious injury, which can lead to unexpected medical expenses.

An attorney can investigate what caused their client’s accident and help them understand what legal rights they are entitled to. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.