A bizarre manhole accident in Manhattan sent two people to people to the hospital during the early morning rush on November 17th. The odd accident occurred at the corner of East 44th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan at roughly 6:30 in the morning. A manhole owned by Con-Ed erupted just moments before a taxi cab passed over it. The explosion sent the manhole cover (which weighs as much as 300 pounds) flying through the air like a missile. The cover landed on the hood of the vehicle, totaling the taxi, and injuring both the driver and the passenger. Both injured individuals escaped the wrecked vehicle; with the help of a passerby, the passenger was forced to crawl out through the minivan’s sunroof.
A Con-Ed representative said that in the winter months salt put on the roadways to melt snow and ice leaks into the underground spaces and can often corrode electrical conduits, causing fires and the release of gasses. When the pressure inside the manhole builds to dangerous levels there is nowhere for it to go but up. This can force the covers off and into the air up to ten or fifteen feet high and send debris shooting out like shrapnel.
Con-Ed, the owner of the manhole, will likely be liable for any damages suffered by the taxi company, driver and passenger including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In fact, there is a NYC Administrative rule on the books which makes the owner of a manhole responsible for the maintenance of the for 12 inch area around the manhole. In similar cases where the manholes are owned by the city, injured individuals can seek financial damages from NYC itself.
If you or your loved ones have been injured in a manhole cover accident in New York City or by a trip and fall accident caused by a manhole cover, the area surrounding the cover or a sidewalk grate, there are legal options available to you. An experienced New York manhole accident attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.