New York City did not get a reprieve from the record-breaking cold that gripped NYC in late December and early January and in fact went from the below freezing cold to a blizzard-like snow storm. Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of the prime time for icy sidewalk accidents in New York City. With every new snow fall and near zero temperatures mixing with sudden thaws, conditions are ripe for slip and fall accidents.
A deadly construction accident in New York City claimed the life of a 30-year old worker at a jobsite at 152 East 87th Street late last month. The tragic fall from heights in Manhattan happened around 9:30 on the morning of December 23rd-just two days before Christmas. Reports show that the victim, Mahamoudon Marega (a resident of The Bronx), died after falling into the basement of the building.
Floor mats. Especially, after or during a storm, you find them everywhere. Right after you walk into your local grocery, apartment building, department store, office building and supermarket, they're there to sop up the rain and snow melt. But when floor mats are not properly maintained or put down properly and the edges turn up or they gather somewhere in the middle because they are not laid flat against the floor, they become tripping hazards and can cause serious slip and fall accidents in New York City. OSHA even classifies tripping over a curled, cracked, or torn floor mat as one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace.
Slip and fall accidents on New York City sidewalks can cause devastating injuries which result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages. There are over 12,000 miles of sidewalk in New York City. And these stretches of pavement take a beating. The harsh East Coast winters, foot traffic, tree roots, and runoff can all create cracks, uneven surfaces, and other trip hazards-a grade difference as small as one-half an inch is enough to cause an accident.
During an average winter, New York City can receive up to 60 inches of snow-sometimes even more. This can make travelling (even on foot) extremely dangerous-especially if residents don't honor their obligation to clear ice and snow from sidewalks. In fact, hundreds of individuals are taken to emergency departments around the city every year because they've fallen on improperly cleared sidewalks.
Late last month a Dominican woman became the victim of a bizarre staircase accident in Manhattan when she slipped and fell to her death. She was visiting friends in an apartment building in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood when she, somehow, fell down a flight of stairs and then tumbled through a window. She fell five stories to the pavement below and was declared dead by rescue crews when they arrived on scene.
Every year there are hundreds of staircase accidents in New York City apartments. Many of these not result in serious injuries. They don't often cause significant interruptions in a person's life and the injuries heal within days. However, some accidents are much more serious and do result in hospitalization and lost time from work. Such kinds of injuries include:
A recent court case highlights the importance of documenting the location of any slip and fall you may have suffered accurately and in a timely fashion. The court case in question centered on the raised lip of a sidewalk cellar door in front of a building owned by East 91 Realty Corp. The victim in the case argued that the lip caught their foot and caused them to fall. This is a classic example of one of the many sidewalk cellar door accidents in New York City which injure hundreds every year.
With all the attention slip and fall accidents on New York City sidewalks get in the wintertime, it's often easy to overlook the dangers on pedestrian and bike paths across the numerous bridges throughout the Five Boroughs. In the winter months, snow and ice can make the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro Bridges extremely hazardous.
While building owners have a responsibility to clear away snow, ice, and other debris from sidewalks adjacent to their properties to prevent accidents, the Parks Department has a responsibility to prevent snow related sidewalk accidents in New York City's public parks. That obligation to clear away snow and ice extends to the pathways and bike paths on Parks Department property as well. However, a number of New Yorkers have complained to the popular street-safety blog, Streets Blog, that the Parks Department is failing to maintain safe conditions in the face of an onslaught of winter storms in the Big Apple.