Property owners in New York City owe a duty of care to prevent dangerous conditions that may harm residents. Foreseeable hazards such as slippery ice, malfunctioning elevators and falling debris require monitoring and preventive maintenance to lessen the chances of a catastrophic accident.
New York Statute Section 5-4.1 allows a personal representative to file a wrongful death action when a preventable hazard causes a fatality. Holding an individual or city officials accountable for their neglect may result in an award of damages to help a grieving family recover.
New York City resident fatally struck by falling debris
A personal representative filed a wrongful death action on behalf of a widower and his three children against a property owner and the city. A portion of a building’s facade fell and killed a 60-year-old pedestrian as she passed by, as reported by Insurance Journal.
The building’s owner may have prevented debris from falling by regularly monitoring the facade. Taking responsibility for pedestrian safety by repairing any cracks, shrinkage or rot may have prevented the debris from breaking apart and falling. According to the lawsuit, city officials also contributed to the death by failing to follow up with the owner on previous violations issued for jeopardizing public safety.
A plaintiff may need to provide evidence of neglect
When an accident occurs, a lawsuit alleging a property owner’s breach of duty may require proof of neglect. Prior citations or violations against a building’s owner for failing to make necessary repairs may serve as evidence to support the claim. A wrongful death action may result in an award of damages to compensate for a family’s pain and suffering, unexpected burial expenses and the lifelong loss of a relationship.