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Hazards of New York City Sidewalk Sheds & Scaffolding

New York’s sidewalk sheds, scaffolding are an ubiquitous threat

Seeing scaffolding on the side of a building is often considered to be progress. Efforts to develop or redevelop property can benefit communities in a number of ways. However, a recent report shows that New York residents might be put at risk by thousands of long-term scaffolds and sidewalk sheds spread throughout the city.

The New York City Housing Authority disclosed that more than 40 miles of scaffolding occupy sidewalks as the result of residential renovation efforts. The problem is that thousands of these scaffolds and accompanying sheds have been kept up for several years and haven’t been maintained. As a result, there is serious potential for collapse-related accidents.

Residents of the buildings with the old sidewalk sheds have reported how unsafe they really are. Beyond becoming structurally unsound, sidewalk sheds have become unsanitary as the result of garbage dumping and rodent infestations in a number of cases.

City building inspectors have cited the housing authority for failure to maintain some of the dangerous properties. Reports say that officials from the housing authority have taken steps to tear down old, unsafe scaffolds and sheds. Still, dozens of precarious structures remain standing throughout the city. Ignoring the full extent of the problem, of course, doesn’t seem like a proactive or viable solution.

Property owners have an obligation to keep their property safe, particularly when maintenance and structural issues could wind up inflicting serious injuries. Ultimately, the hope is that housing officials step up to the plate and address the condition of their properties.

Source: New York Daily News, “NYC Housing Authority keeps thousands of dangerous scaffolds and sheds up for years,” Greg B. Smith, Feb. 9, 2014

doctor looking at head x-ray for injuries

Brooklyn Trip-and-Fall Accident Results in Brain Injury

Brooklyn trip-and-fall accident left woman with brain injuries

Every day, thousands of New York residents use the subway system to get to and from work. Of course, this means that transportation facilities and infrastructure must undergo regular maintenance in order for everything to remain safe. Repair efforts should also include subway stations, which every rider must pass through.

In 2008, a woman in her 60s was leaving her place of work in Brooklyn to meet her husband. As the woman was stepping onto a platform at a Williamsburg subway station, she tripped and fell down a flight of stairs. In the process, she suffered hip and head injuries.

The woman failed to see a gouge in the platform leading to the stairs, which caused her to trip. This is something that should have been addressed by maintenance officials from the Metropolitan Transit Authority. As a result of the trip-and-fall accident caused by negligent maintenance, the woman’s family filed a claim against the transit agency.

Years after the accident, the woman is still feeling the effects of her injuries. In fact, her health has declined precipitously since the incident. Immediately after falling, the woman experienced bleeding in her brain, which eventually caused seizures. Additional neurological issues have left the woman unable to communicate and made mobility very difficult.

Before the accident, the woman was still working the same manual-labor job that she had for almost two decades. She enjoyed being active, but her injuries have put an end to that.

After working through courts for several years, the woman’s personal injury claim finally received a verdict. A jury found in her favor, and the woman is expected to receive a $16 million financial reward. What likely began as an average daily commute proved to be life altering. The hope is that this outcome will help provide the woman and her loved ones with much-needed support.

Source: New York Daily News, “Bronx grandmother wins $16 million in lawsuit against MTA for subway slip,” Dareh Gregorian, Feb. 4, 2014

lawyer and paralegal discussing an NY vehicle accident case

Queens Apartment Accident: Bug Bomb Explodes Injuring a Neighbor

Man injured by exploding ‘bug bomb’ in adjacent Queens apartment

From time to time, a person might have to rely on chemicals in order to take care of a bug problem. This is something many New York City residents can probably relate to. If a person opts for a do-it-yourself fumigation rather than seeking the help of a professional, it’s important to carefully follow the instructions and warnings on whatever product is used.

Not long ago, a Queens man was startled by an explosion from his neighbor’s apartment unit that caused an adjoining stucco wall to collapse. As a result of the blast, the man suffered injuries, some of which were caused by a TV that toppled onto him. Investigators have determined the culprit: a bug bomb.

Officials from the FDNY indicated that a bug bomb was being used to eliminate pests, but a pilot light was left on in the apartment unit. Leaving an open flame during the extermination process can cause the chemicals to combust, which is what happened in this case. In light of this incident, city officials issued a warning to be careful when using fumigation products.

Thankfully, the man who suffered injuries as a result of this explosion is expected to survive. At the same time, however, whoever was responsible for the bug-extermination efforts should have been more careful. It seems as though taking a few minutes to carefully read directions could have prevented this incident.

In respect to this particular case, it may be important to determine who was responsible for using the bug bomb. Whether it was an individual resident or a property manager, one or more parties could be considered liable for the incident and subsequent damages.

Source: CBS New York, “Bug Bomb Blamed For Queens Explosion That Leaves Man Injured,” Jan. 20, 2014

lawyer workstation with view of New York

Winter Safety Risks: Falling Icicle Injures Man in Manhattan

Man injured by icicle falling from Manhattan rooftop

Over the last several weeks, New Yorkers have been dealing with snow and colder-than-normal temperatures. Although this has been inconvenient for many people, there are also serious safety risks associated with this. Aside from slippery roads and sidewalks, people may not consider the danger posed by icicles falling from buildings.

As a 27-year-old man was warning pedestrians in Midtown Manhattan about potentially dangerous icicles many feet overhead, he was struck by falling ice himself. Reports say that the man suffered lacerations to his face and a scratch on his eye. Bystanders even noticed blood on the ground from the incident.

The injured man was providing warnings as part of his job at the shopping center where the accident occurred. Due to his work-related injury, he may be able to receive compensation for the medical expenses or potential wages lost as a result of the injuries. At this point, there is no indication as to why the icicles hadn’t been removed from the top of the building before they became a concern.

This danger isn’t localized to this particular building in Manhattan. In fact, property owners throughout New York City should take precautions to prevent injuries related to falling icicles. Clearing icicles from rooflines could be considered regular maintenance, akin to preventing sidewalk accidents by clearing walkways of snow and ice patches. Following through on this type of task may be particularly important as temperatures fluctuate.

Ice projectiles falling from the tops of tall buildings pose a serious threat to anyone passing under them. Fortunately, the man involved in this case is expected to recover from his injuries, but other ice-related accidents could be much more serious.

Source:, “Falling icicle slashes man’s face in Midtown,” Natalie O’Neill and Natasha Velez, Jan. 22, 2014

spine cord injuries

Falling Object Causes Fatal Head Injury to NY Dancer

Dancer dies from head injury caused by falling object

New York City is known as a place for aspiring artists and performers to follow their ambitions. The performing arts aren’t generally known for being dangerous areas of work, but all of the rigging and equipment on stages could create danger if it’s not properly maintained or secured.

A 22-year-old dancer, who has spent time working in New York, died as the result of a tragic accident while rehearsing with his current dance company. According to reports, the young man was on a break at the dance troupe’s Chicago studio when a steel acrobatics ring fell on his head.

Unfortunately, the dancer suffered head injuries that claimed his life. The local medical examiner ruled that trauma caused by the heavy falling object was enough to claim the man’s life so early in his career.

Since the dancer was 14 years old, he has been studying dance. Even in his young career, he had traveled all over the world. Sadly, his dream was cut far too short. Not only that, but his loved ones also will not be able to spend time with him and watch his dream progress.

Other than a short written statement from the dance troupe and sparing details released by police, there is little insight into what exactly caused the steel ring to fall. As such, further investigation may be necessary to determine whether or not the heavy object was properly secured. When such performance instruments are put into use, it’s critical that they are safe. Failure to follow through in this respect could result in accidents similar to the one that just occurred.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Dancer dies after ‘freak occurrence’ during rehearsal, death ruled an accident,” Lolly Bowean, Jan. 15, 2014

Slip and Fall accident at a warehouse injured person

Construction Site Safety Duty & New York’s Scaffold Law

New York’s Scaffold Law has roots in construction site safety

Construction sites are full of activity. Between large trucks being moved around and cranes hoisting large objects high above the ground, construction workers have a lot to be aware of. Although workers must exercise caution on work sites, they also deserve to be protected from the dangers associated with modern construction. This idea was the basis for New York’s Scaffold Law, which was enacted nearly 130 years ago.

As buildings were growing taller near the turn of the 20th century, construction workers faced new and more frequent dangers. Due to the risk associated with working from scaffolding and falling objects, lawmakers were motivated to protect workers from unnecessary workplace dangers.

Specifically, the law addresses safety concerns associated with construction completed above ground. Contractors and property owners became responsible for the safety and proper construction of machinery, structures and other tools that aid in building. The law also allows injured workers to pursue civil claims if responsible parties fail to uphold the law’s requirements.

Although this law has been on the books for more than a century, certain people are lobbing criticism. As such, there are efforts to change the face of the law in order to limit the liability of property owners and contractors.

Of course, many people have also raised concerns about changing the Scaffold Law. For so many years, the law has promoted work site safety and has guarded construction workers against injuries.

Employers have a duty to ensure that their employees aren’t harmed in preventable accidents. On a very basic level, the long-standing Scaffold Law does just that. Moving forward, the hope is that construction workers don’t lose the protections they’ve relief on for so many years.

Source: The New York Times, “Contractors and Workers at Odds Over Scaffold Law,” Kirk Semple, Dec. 17, 2013

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