An elderly woman in New Jersey was severely injured after falling nearly six feet into the cellar of a building in Plainfield earlier this week. The 67-year old was walking down the sidewalk when she tripped over an open cellar door and fell head-first into the basement. The whole sidewalk cellar door accident was capture on video. The evidence clearly shows the individual working in the basement (repairing gas lines according to police) had failed to put up hazard notifications such as caution tape or cones.
Property owners are responsible for inspecting and maintaining the vast majority sidewalks in New York (since the city shifted liability in 2003). But the city itself may still be on the hook for a large number of injuries caused by sidewalk accidents in New York. That's because the New York is still liable for repairing and maintaining sidewalks adjacent to public buildings, green spaces (such as parks or city office buildings) and multiple dwelling less than four families.
New York is a very vertical city, making for eye-catching vistas and wonderful snapshots. Unfortunately, every year a number of men and women are injured--some even killed--in apartment complex accidents New York City involving debris falling from rooftops, building facades, and windows. This is a reality that one man found out as he was walking along the sidewalk in front of his home in the Bronx late last month.
After a relatively mild start, winter is finally here again along the East Coast. Ice and snow covered sidewalk accident in New York are something all of us should be thinking about. Every year there are hundreds of slip and fall accidents around the City which send people to emergency rooms. Injuries can range from bumps and bruises to head injuries and compound bone fractures. These individuals may require surgeries combined with extensive time lost from work for rehabilitation.
There are thousands of sidewalk grates across the City. Some simply lead into the basements and sub-basements of buildings. Others, however, lead directly into the city's infrastructure and open onto voids dropping 20, 50, even 90 feet below street level into subway and utility tunnels. Every year a number of individuals are injured by sidewalk grate accidents in New York City.
Just last week a young man was injured in a bizarre sidewalk accident in New York. The 20-year old was crossing the street in Buffalo, New York when the ground opened up beneath him and swallowed him whole. The three-foot wide hole appeared without notice in the middle of the street and the man had no time to react. Though relatively narrow, the whole was reportedly deep and the young man suffered unspecified injuries in the fall. He was taken to a nearby hospital and later discharged to continue recovery at home.
There are an estimated 39,000 sidewalk grates across New York City, some covering holes in the pavement 80 feet deep or deeper. These pose a serious threat to the safety of any New Yorker simply walking down the street. In fact, hundreds of people are injured every year in sidewalk grate accidents in New York City. Many suffer bruises, scrapes, and maybe twisted ankles from simple slip and fall accidents but many are injured much more seriously. Some suffer with broken bones, nerve damage, or even brain damage and some of the victims don't survive their falls.
Winter presents a trying time for residents and visitors alike as rapidly fluctuating temperatures along the East Coast cause falling ice and snow accidents across New York City. It's no secret that New York is a vertical city. Skyscrapers, high-rises, and amazing architecture stretching into the skyline are what the city is known for. But those towering dangers pose a threat during winter months when snow and ice can build up on building facades and rooftops and then sheets of ice and chunks rain down upon pedestrians in Manhattan and elsewhere.
This season's record snowfalls up and down the Eastern Seaboard and interior New York serve as a reminder that winter weather can make living and working in New York City treacherous at best. Several states east of the Mississippi have already recorded the most snowfall ever in November (with Upstate New York receiving up to seven feet of snow in some places) While many of the injuries and deaths this season have been caused either by roof collapses or automobile accidents on slick roadways, improperly cleared sidewalk are just as dangerous for pedestrians. In fact, snow and ice covered sidewalk accidents in New York (most typically slip and fall accidents) contribute to one of the top 10 causes of emergency room visits in the Big Apple-sprains and broken bones.
Sidewalk grates are everywhere in New York City. How many of us ever really think about the danger just below our feet? Subway trains zip by at high speeds, live wires and scalding steam pipes snake through the underground, and some of the voids covered by those grates go down up to 8 stories. Sure, the vast majority of the grates are perfectly safe (other than posing a hazard for people walking in high heels) but there have been a surprising number of sidewalk grate accidents in New York City caused by faulty grates.