New York City is rife with underground hazards. Because of the vast infrastructure below ground level, there are thousands of places across the City where thin metal grates or thin concrete slabs are all that stand between pedestrians and terrible falls. One such sidewalk accident in New York City could have claimed the life of a young woman last year. Thankfully, she escaped without major injury .
32-year old Ulanda Williams was waiting for a bus when she stepped back to get out of the rain. Seconds later, the ground beneath her feet collapsed. She fell several feet down a staircase located below the street. When asked about the ordeal, Ulanda commented that a skinnier person could have easily been killed or seriously injured and jokingly thanked the extra pounds she was carrying around for saving her life.
There are some “voids” below city streets which lead directly to underground electrical lines, subway tracks, and even abandoned tunnels. In fact, several of these underground holes are several stories deep and covered only by thin metal grates. If circumstances had been slightly different, the outcome of Ulanda’s accident could have been much worse.
The Department of Buildings investigated this sidewalk accident and discovered that an improperly maintained underground stairwell belonging to the building in front of which Ulanda had been waiting allowed rainwater to leak in and degrade the foundation below the concrete slab which served as the sidewalk. Clearly, Ulanda’s injuries were the fault of the property owner. If they had been more diligent about inspecting and maintaining their property, this New York City sidewalk accident would never have happened.
In New York, apartment building owners are liable for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalks surrounding their properties. But in this case, the owner was doubly liable because it was not only their sidewalk that collapsed but their stairwell that caused the defect in the first place.
If you have been injured due any kind of defective sidewalk, contact a New York City sidewalk accident attorney immediately to safeguard your right to monetary compensation. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.