Sidewalk collapse highlights trauma victims can face after an accident

| Mar 3, 2021 | Premises Liability |

The city is always full of surprises. While it is the hope that these surprises are good, that is not always the case. 

In an example of how bad it can get in New York City, a local man fell through a sidewalk into a crawling pit of rats. The resulting combination of hospitalization and terror is what one can only hope would be, at most, a once-in-a-lifetime injury. 

The shocking accident

Despite the shocking nature of this accident, the fact is that sidewalks collapse here at an alarming rate, with dozens of reports of incidents since 2019. There is obviously the potential for serious injury when this happens. 

This particular incident happened near a Bronx bus stop. One of the issues was a building in disrepair nearby. The sidewalk extended over a basement section, around which the city had ordered the owner to construct a fence. 

An unsuspecting man fell into this pit. Onlookers described it as being similar to a sinkhole. 

The cost of dangerous property

Undoubtedly, an order to repair a building and put up barricades represents a cost to property owners. However, these minor inconveniences pale in comparison to the cost that dangerously dilapidated buildings have for the general public. 

This case is an unfortunately clear example of what happens when the public good is not the priority. Not only did the man fall into a sidewalk sinkhole, but he also had rats crawling over him for about half an hour before firefighters could come to the rescue. During this time, he was afraid to speak because of the chance that the rodents could get into his mouth. 

The resulting injuries

It is difficult for most people to conceive of the type of lasting pain and suffering that could result from this type of event. How does one feel safe anywhere if even the sidewalks are suspect? Even after the physical pain of the fall passed — if it ever completely passed — the memory of such an event could continue to haunt someone for an entire lifetime.