A construction company was fined for its failure to safeguard pedestrians passing by a construction site in The Bronx last month. The New York City Department of Buildings (DoB) issued its monthly digest of construction and building violations and fines last month. One of the biggest fines was against a construction company for failing to install a temporary sidewalk. Temporary sidewalk accidents in New York City are critical to the safety of individuals passing by construction or renovation sites. These temporary safety installations are designed to keep passersby out of harm's way by preventing falling debris from striking them along providing even walking surfaces to prevent trip and fall accidents.
When it comes to sidewalks, the city of New York has stringent codes on the books in order to ensure these public thoroughfares are safe, secure, and easily accessible for all New Yorkers. These rules apply to all sidewalks in New York City and building owners can be held responsible for the inspection, repair, and maintenance of sidewalks adjacent to their properties. However, as one investigative report found, a significant portion of the sidewalks are in disrepair. Most significantly, a number of heavily-trafficked intersections have sidewalks and curbs that are difficult for anyone to navigate. This, says the author, is likely to lead to an increase in the number of trip and fall sidewalks accidents in New York.
The City's Department of Buildings (DoB) revoked the license of a registered safety engineer last month in connection with designs he created for sidewalk sheds that could have become potential safety hazards. One of the biggest risks of sidewalk shed accidents in New York City is actually from a faulty design or construction of the shed itself, not actually falling debris from the construction/renovation the shed was erected to buffer. Indeed, the number of pedestrians and motorists injured in New York City when sidewalk sheds fail is staggering.
Determining liability in the case of a sidewalk accident in New York City has always been difficult. First, the victim needs to prove that a defect (such as a hole, crack or raised flagstone or uncleared ice and snow in winter months) caused their fall and injuries. Next, they need to determine who is legally responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk. Years ago, the city was almost always responsible for maintenance. That responsibility shifted a few years ago to fall mostly on the shoulders of the adjacent property owner (with several notable exceptions). Now a new court decision has taken the uncertainty about who is responsible for a sidewalk accident in New York City.
Sidewalk sheds are erected all over New York City for the safety of pedestrians. They're designed to protect people from falling debris at job sites. Unfortunately, many of those sheds outlive their usefulness or are constructed improperly to begin with and pose hazards to public safety. That's a lesson demonstrated by a harrowing sidewalk accident in New York City this past week. A shed erected at 151 Hudson Street collapsed midday on November 30th showering the building's loading dock, the adjacent sidewalk, and part of the street with steel pipes, plywood, and bits of broken lumber.
In the summer months, New Yorkers desperately try to beat the heat by getting out of the city. But sometimes you just can't get out and that's when air conditioning becomes a must-have for residents and businesses in The Big Apple. The next time you're walking along the sidewalk look up and count the number of air conditioning units hanging overhead. What if one of those units should fall? What if you're hurt? Who can you turn to and who is liable for such sidewalk accidents in New York?
A terrifying sidewalk cellar door accident in Manhattan sent an unsuspecting pedestrian to the hospital with horrific injuries on October 15th. The man was simply walking past the McDonald's at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street when he stumbled and fell through an open sidewalk cellar door. He hit bottom 12 feet below street level and lay injured until rescue crews arrived.
A tragic sidewalk cellar door accident in Brooklyn claimed the life of a 30-year old homeless man in Bedford Stuyvesant late last month. The unidentified man was walking past an abandoned building located at 1281 Bedford Avenue when a flimsy metal cellar grate covering a gaping 12-foot hole in the sidewalk collapsed beneath him. In the words of one eyewitness, he was just walking along and then simply "disappeared." The man fell approximately 12 feet to the concrete cellar floor below street level. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Accidents on snow and ice covered sidewalks across New York cost residents and visitors millions in medical expenses, lost wages and more. These treacherous surfaces are the responsibility of property owners or the City itself and legally must be cleared within a given time frame. If you slip and fall on a slippery sidewalk, the abutting property owner or the City could be held legally responsible for your injuries, medical expenses and lost wages.
This season's record snowfalls up and down the Eastern Seaboard and interior New York serve as a reminder that winter weather can make living and working in New York City treacherous at best. Several states east of the Mississippi have already recorded the most snowfall ever in November (with Upstate New York receiving up to seven feet of snow in some places) While many of the injuries and deaths this season have been caused either by roof collapses or automobile accidents on slick roadways, improperly cleared sidewalk are just as dangerous for pedestrians. In fact, snow and ice covered sidewalk accidents in New York (most typically slip and fall accidents) contribute to one of the top 10 causes of emergency room visits in the Big Apple-sprains and broken bones.