A tragic accident in Flushing’s Kissena Park took the life of a 30-year old woman and her unborn child early on the evening of August 4, 2013. Yingyi Li-Dikov, an Ithaca College graduate, had stopped to rest on a park bench with another woman when a massive limb from the oak tree above came crashing down on them both. Yingyi was pronounced dead at a local hospital after being struck in the head and body by the limb. The other woman was treated for injuries caused by falling tree branches and released.
Yingyi had emigrated from China in 2009 and married her husband Aleksander just last year. The couple was expecting a son in November.
This marks the twelfth such accident in an eight week period , according to Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC’s Parks Advocates. A neighborhood resident said it’s not uncommon in Kissena Park for people to be injured by falling branches.
The problem of falling tree branches is so serious in New York City that the Times published a feature piece last year highlighting at least 10 incidents resulting in injuries and death. One such accident resulted in a successful $4 million lawsuit against the City when a 29-year old woman suffered a broken arm and other debilitating injuries after a branch from a rotting elm crushed her in Stuyvesant Square Park in Manhattan.
State Senator Tony Avella said, the City can’t keep claiming these accidents are acts of God; it’s plain “unacceptable” and the City’s struggling tree maintenance program (under the supervision of the parks department) is to blame for Yingyi’s death.
The City vigorously fights these cases saying they have no way of knowing when or where branches will fall. However, several tree experts have called the city’s maintenance program inadequate, saying that it relies on visual inspections only and is subject to bureaucratic red tape which delays preventative action until after injuries have already occurred.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a falling tree branch in any of the parks in the City, contact a New York tree branch accident attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.