Walking the streets of Manhattan can be hectic. People walking in all directions, cars and taxis clogging up intersections, and broken or uneven sidewalks are just some of the obstructions making it difficult for pedestrians. Residents and tourists quickly learn to look around and look down to try and avoid an accident. But what about looking up?
There have been a significant amount of instances of falling debris in New York City in the past 18 months. Just recently, a crisis was averted when a 10-by-10 section of a building in the East Village began to pull away from the 15th floor. Thankfully, firefighters and city workers arrived in enough time to secure the piece from falling off. While there were street closures and evacuations, no one was injured.
Tragically, this is not always the case. In March of 2015, a 37-year old woman walking in Greenwich Village was fatally injured when she was thrown against a building after being struck by a 4-by-8-foot piece of plywood from a construction site. Just two months later, a toddler in a stroller was killed when debris from an Upper West Side building fell on her and her grandmother.
Other episodes of falling debris include:
- May 2015 – a tourist was hit in the head by a falling piece of wood in SoHo
- August 2015 – a doctor in Chinatown was struck in the head by a falling strip of metal spikes used to deter birds
- October 2015 – three people were injured by glass falling off a building on Fifth Avenue
- January 2016 – high winds sent sections of wall panels from the Sheraton Hotel onto Seventh Avenue
- February 2016 – only blocks from Times Square, wind sent a glass tabletop from a 22nd floor balcony onto two women on the sidewalk
- March 2016 – glass from a panel on the DoubleTree Hotel in Midtown fell and hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk
- April 2016 – a woman walking near the Empire State Building suffered a head injury after being struck with falling debris from a construction site
- April 2016 – a child in Brooklyn suffered injuries to his hands and face when concrete from the elevated subway tracks overhead broke off when a train passed through
- April 2016 – a 32-year-old construction worker leaving his jobsite in the West Village was killed when a wood plank fell 10 stories from a scaffolding above
There are plenty of steps property owners and construction companies can do to prevent a dangerous situation or at least minimize the damage. Unfortunately, many times the appropriate precautions are not taken and the risk of an accident or injury from falling debris remains. It can be difficult to decipher who is responsible and what can be done to make the individual or company pay for their negligence. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to falling materials from a building or construction site, be sure to contact the experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to fight for you.