I’ll be looking twice, and avoiding grates in sidewalks. I just don’t trust them anymore, not after seeing so many accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities. This weekend, a man in Brooklyn died after falling through a cellar grate.
The man was reportedly walking on Bedford Avenue when he stepped onto the grate. Suddenly, the metal doors of the grate collapsed and the man fell 12 feet down. According to the New York Daily News, the doors led to the basement of an abandoned building.
“The thing just opened. He was walking. He wasn’t paying attention,” witness Richie McCray said. “The thing is loose. And he disappeared.”
Who is At Fault When Someone Falls Down A Cellar Grate on A Sidewalk?
You may be wondering who is at fault when these accidents happen. It really varies case by case. City law dictates that property owners are held responsible for injuries or deaths caused by improperly secured cellar grates. However, when it comes to sidewalk grates and vaults, New York case law has concluded that the owners of the grates and access covers - usually utility companies, transit authorities or the city - are the ones liable for injuries caused by inadequate grate maintenance. The defect must be within 12 inches of the sidewalk grate though. If the hardware was installed for the benefit of an adjoining landowner, the beneficiary of this hardware may be responsible for its defective condition, even if not the owner. There were 40 complaints last year for unstable cellar doors in New York City, and 19 complaints have been filed so far in 2015.
To learn more about accidents involving sidewalk grates, manholes and access covers, read our article. If you have been seriously injured from falling through a sidewalk grate, or access cover in Long Island or NYC, please contact us today at 516-222-4000. Our compassionate lawyers will answer any questions you have. You may have a case and be entitled to compensation for you injuries.