It is summer time and the temperatures are rising. That means more and more New Yorkers will be looking for ways to beat the heat and a window air conditioner is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to do so. But are these air conditioners safe for the people below? How often do these units fall out and crash to the sidewalks below?
It’s impossible to estimate the number of self-installed air conditioners there are hanging precariously from the windows of apartment and office buildings throughout the city. Chances are, if you look up while walking anywhere in the City, you’ll see more than one. But are they really safe?
A physics professor from the University of Virginia was asked that question recently by a journalist at Curbed. His answer is terrifying. The average weight of a window-based unit is roughly 40 pounds. That would impart enough momentum to make it deadly from as little as a second-story window.
And while fatal accidents involving pedestrians and air conditioners are exceedingly rare (an estimated 4 fatalities every 10 years) the risk is increasing as more and more New Yorkers install these heavy units without professional help and without following the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
The key to making these units safe for everyone is securing them to the window sill. If you look at the next one you see closely enough, you’ll likely find that it’s simply perched on the sill and may be held in place by the weight of the upper window sash.
If you’ve been injured by a falling air conditioner (or any window-based appliance) you could potentially hold multiple parties financially liable including the resident of the apartment from which the unit fell, the owner of the building, and the individual who installed the unit.
The best way to get the compensation you deserve is to consult with an experienced New York City premises law attorney as soon as you’re able. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation today.