Cellar doors are a common site on City sidewalks in New York. They provide easy access to the below ground level structure but they also pose a dangerous hazard for pedestrians. This past summer a young man suffered severe injuries after falling through an open cellar door in East Harlem. This sidewalk cellar door accident in New York occurred in broad daylight and surveillance video captured the entire horrifying mishap.
The man was walking east on 119th street when he fell-head first-into the open space, tumbling a dozen feet or better to the floor below. A passerby immediately behind the gentleman phoned 911 and rescue crews arrived shortly thereafter. They rushed the individual to the hospital suffering from undisclosed head injuries.
Several eyewitnesses say that sidewalk accidents of this nature aren’t uncommon in the area. The sidewalk surrounding the opening is angled slightly posing a trip hazard. One gentleman said that he himself had stumbled and fell through the open the cellar doors several years ago.
Under New York City law, property owners can be held liable for injuries suffered because of defects in the sidewalk adjacent to their buildings. This includes failing to properly cordon off or properly warn of open cellar doors.
Street-level cellar doors, when open, are a danger to pedestrians walking on that sidewalk. The property owner or tenant must take reasonable steps to protect innocent passersby. Whether it’s a simple trip and fall accident or a much scarier tumble into the sublevels of a building, injuries sustained in such accidents could be sever and have lifelong consequences.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a sidewalk cellar door accident in New York City, contact a qualified personal injury attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost time from work and unpaid medical expenses. However, determining liability is a key factor in pursuing a successful civil lawsuit against at-fault parties and the longer you wait, the more difficult that becomes. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.