It was a real-life nightmare that happened to an unsuspecting Bronx man walking to a bus stop. Without notice on Oct. 24, the sidewalk buckled under the 33-year-old victim, swallowing him into a sinkhole filled with rats that crawled all over him.
Although he sustained a spinal fracture and broke his arm and leg in the 15-foot fall, the victim refrained from screaming in pain, fearful that the rodents would crawl into his mouth. The sinkhole turned out to be a dilapidated basement next to a building that city officials soon ordered vacated. This situation represents a prime, yet shocking, example of premises liability.
Poor upkeep and bad security
Building owners and landlords are responsible for maintaining safety on their properties, ensuring the public is not harmed. They should not shirk their duties by ignoring repairs or taking shortcuts when it comes to necessary upkeep.
In the Bronx sidewalk collapse, think of the psychological harm caused to the victim in this repugnant incident straight from a horror movie. In December, the man filed a lawsuit against the building’s owner and the city, claiming negligence. The city, he contended, failed to make proper sidewalk inspections.
Premises liability cases surface in a number of ways inside and outside of structures:
- Violent attacks on properties, including buildings, parking ramps and parking lots. Poor lighting, lack of security cameras and poorly trained security staff contribute to these incidents.
- Wet and slippery floors or walkways represent unsafe conditions. They can be inside restaurants, department stores as well as outside in parking lots and sidewalks.
- Loose and missing handrails in stairwells and outside entrances to buildings.
- Poorly maintained buildings and their surroundings. This is what happened in the recent Bronx personal injury case.
- Animal attacks in or near private homes and public areas.
Personal injury related to premises liability can surface abruptly as what happened to the Bronx man last fall. Victims are not to blame for such injuries. The blame falls on building and property owners and landlords for creating negligent conditions.