When It Looks Like a Cellar Door Caused You to Trip and Fall
Without a doubt, it’s a trip and fall hazard you’ll mostly only find in an urban environment. Walk through the streets of Jersey City or Newark, and you’ll see plenty of cellar doors. When they’re open, they resemble gaping holes in the sidewalk. Additionally, some city walkways are also marred by metal grates.
A few months ago, the local news ran an article concerning a woman who tumbled over a sidewalk hatch. In fact, the publication even provided a video of the actual accident. As the media reported, there were concerns that the victim was not paying attention to the walkway. A follow-up story shared that the woman was legally blind.
As you can see, it does not appear that there was any precautionary measure to prevent this particular mishap. There were no guards around the gaping hole. When the woman tripped and fell down the cellar stairs, she suffered severe injuries.
Fortunately, this incident did not have fatal consequences. A couple of years ago, a gentleman was not so lucky. According to news accounts, a New York man died when he fell through a cellar grate in Brooklyn.
Trip and Fall Accidents on City Sidewalks
Open cellar doors are just one issue when it comes to prospective accidents. Even a locked basement entrance can be a problem. For example, a pedestrian could trip and fall because the metal doors were not closed evenly. The raised surface would be a dangerous tripping hazard.
Many trip and fall accidents are as a result of a business owner’s failure to maintain and/or inspect the cellar doors to ensure that they do not present an unsafe condition. Naturally, deterioration can also create dangerous circumstances.
Meanwhile, there is the issue of metal grates on city sidewalks. For one, there is the chance that someone’s heel could get stuck and cause them to fall forward. Meanwhile, not all sidewalk grates have the necessary integrity in strength.
Concerns about metal grates in walkways and parking lots have caught the attention of the Occupational Safety Health and Administration (“OSHA”). They offer warnings about using snow removal equipment on surface grates. Apparently, the weight of the machinery can cause the grates to crash and fail. There is also the chance of them loosening under extreme pressure.
The bottom line is that both cellar doors and metal grates should be flush with the sidewalk. If a door is open, there should be some protective measures to guard against accidental injuries. Equally important is the necessity to conduct routine maintenance and inspection checks.
Find Out How We Can Help
Any type of trip and fall accident can cause serious and permanent injuries. In some cases, fatalities occur as the result of someone else’s negligence. If you have encountered this type of situation, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. Please give us a call for a complimentary consultation.