In many areas of the country, including New York City, this winter has been one of the most severe winters on record. Despite the weather, landlords and other property owners are responsible for managing safe premises, which may cause serious injuries or even death if properties are neglected.
Recently, streets near New York’s new World Trade Center were closed, due to pieces of ice plunging off of the 1,776-foot structure. It was reported that the ice chunks had the potential to reach 100 mph during the fall. The dangers of falling ice became a reality for one New York pedestrian who was struck in the face by a football-size piece of ice as he was warning others about the falling ice off a building near Rockefeller Center. The man’s injuries required 80 stitches across his cheek and nose.
Building owners have been instructed by New York City’s Department of Buildings to clear potentially hazardous snow piles and rope off sidewalks. Building owners who fail to do these things face a $1,000 fine, in addition to someone being seriously injured.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep visitors and passerby’s safe. Although the law does not require a property owner to remove snow and ice that accumulates outside of the property, if the accumulation is unnatural, property owners may be liable for slip-and-fall accidents. Property owners who are aware of a potential hazard, or should have been aware, may be held accountable for injuries sustained on that property.
Whether a person has been injured from ice plunging off a skyscraper, falling on a slippery surface, or tripping over a piece of debris, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help victims of property owner or landlord negligence receive compensation. It may be wise for those occupying a property or visiting a building to be aware of their surroundings, but when an accident occurs, a thorough investigation can reveal whether or not the property owner or landlord should have taken action to prevent that accident.
Source: The Guardian, “Brutal winter weather brings new challenge: ice falling from skyscrapers,” Feb. 19, 2014