In mid-November, a woman was killed in a fatal façade accident in New York City. The 60-year-old victim was walking along the sidewalk in front of a residential building located at 49th Street and 7th Avenue in Midtown when a piece of debris broke free from the building and struck her in the head. EMTs arrived within minutes of being called but there was nothing they could do for the victim. She was unconscious and unresponsive when they arrived. She was declared dead moments later.
The Department of Buildings Immediately cordoned off the area and ordered a complete safety inspection of the building’s façade to prevent a similar accident. A dive into the agency’s records by an investigative journalist found that the building in question did have an active permit for repairs on the penthouse filed in July. However, there was also a complaint filed that stated a sign notifying passersby of work being done had been removed and that there were no barriers in place to keep pedestrians off the sidewalk in front of the residence. In addition, the report stated that at the time (January) there was debris on the ground in front of the building.
The results of the DOB investigation will also include a determination of whether a protective scaffolding (also known as a sidewalk shed) should have been installed at the location. Such a precaution would likely have prevented this latest tragedy.
Regardless of the DOB’s findings, the victim’s surviving family members seem to have a significant amount of evidence to prosecute a successful claim against the building owner and contractor doing the work. The claim would be for pain and suffering for the time the woman survived after the accident and if she was working, the amount of money she contributed to the household for the period of her work life expectancy.
If you or a loved one has been injured by falling debris, contact an experienced façade accident attorney in New York City. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation.