Lawsuit blames property owner for sidewalk collapse into rat den

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2020 | Premises Liability Defense |

There are certain aspects of living in a large city like New York that can be worrisome. While it might sound like a nightmare for a person to fall through the sidewalk and land on a nest of rats, it did happen, leaving a man injured and traumatized. After this type of incident occurs, there will be a natural response to find a person, a business or an entity at fault. This will likely result in a lawsuit. Despite the amount of attention paid to an accident of this kind, it does not necessarily mean that the property owner was at fault and should pay in a premises liability lawsuit. Just like a victim needs legal representation to file a case, the defendant also need to have legal protection.

Man who fell into rat den files lawsuit against city and property owner

A man, 33, who fell through a sidewalk sinkhole is suing the property owner and the City of New York. The accident occurred in October. The man was at a bus stop when the sidewalk gave way and he landed around 12 feet below ground in a vault. When he landed, he was surrounded by rats. The impact caused a spinal fracture and he was paralyzed. He is getting inpatient rehabilitation after surgery.

He is said to be learning to walk again and is starting to recover feeling in his extremities. The lawsuit says that the owner of the building did not maintain the property and was negligent in the upkeep of the rat-infested vault. The city is accused of failing to conduct necessary inspections of the sidewalk to ensure it was safe.

Property owners should remember premises liability protections

Regardless of the troubling nature of an accident on someone else’s property, the property owner is not necessarily responsible for it. This story is splashy and the first reaction to it is that someone should be blamed. Still, the property owner might not have been at fault. The case must be assessed in an objective manner to determine how and why it happened. The sidewalk must be investigated to see if there was a defect. It should be determined whether the owner was aware of the defect, if any. The injuries should be considered from the defendant’s perspective. After an accident and accusations that the property owner was to blame, it is wise to have legal assistance to craft a defense. A firm that specializes in premises liability defense may be able to help.


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