Philadelphians understand that whether you live in Center City, West Philadelphia, South Philly, northeast Philadelphia or elsewhere in the city, urban living can be chaotic. However, despite the chaos of the city, one’s health and safety should never be compromised or at risk. When all building owners, tenants, workers, and residents of the city act responsibly and conscientiously the risk of injury from a falling object from a building can be minimized and nearly eliminated. However, not all people do as they are supposed to and some may act before thinking thereby creating dangerous and potentially deadly situations for pedestrians and others.
Falling debris, signs, trees, tools, traffic signals, merchandise, and other objects can catastrophically injure or kill several individuals at a time. Objects accelerate at 9.8 m/s^2 as they fall, so even small items, like nails and bolts, can cause serious harm if they fall from great heights. Consider that a ball dropped from a building will accelerate from rest to a speed of 29.4 meters per second (nearly 66 miles per hour) after just three seconds and 49 meters per second (109 miles per hour) after just 5 seconds. Serious head injuries, skull fractures, traumatic brain injury, fractures, blindness, and death can all be the unfortunate result of falling objects.
The personal injury lawyers of Reiff & Bily fight for injured Philadelphians. We understand that insurance companies do not necessarily have an injured person’s best interests in mind. Therefore, we fight to increase the likelihood that the compensation you receive is fair and sufficient to cover the medical bills you face, the costs of your rehabilitation and recovery, and the pain and suffering you experienced.
Bricks, Nails, Building Materials And Other Falling Items From Construction And Scaffolding Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries
Building construction is simply a part of life in the city. It may seem that Philadelphia is constantly under construction. However, strong economic growth and a vibrant economic landscape typically result in additional construction as residents and businesses seek a slice of Philadelphia to call their own. While the construction has a positive overall benefit, it can create inconvenience and danger. Some people may even complain about constricted traffic flow on sidewalks due to supports for scaffolding allowing workers to perform construction overhead. However, the real risk is falling objects from the building construction striking pedestrians underneath the scaffolding.
Innocent passersby may be struck by falling construction tools, materials, and debris if construction sites fail to barricade hazardous work areas. Other dangers that increase the risk of a falling object injury also include when scaffolding lack debris nets and toe boards. Construction companies and construction crews should employ all best practices to minimize the risk of pedestrian injury.
Old Or Poorly Maintained Buildings Also Present a Risk Of Falling Object Injury
Aside from new buildings, older buildings in the city can also present a falling object danger. In a city like Philadelphia that is replete with old and historic buildings, this risk may be particularly pronounced. Over time bricks, mortar, and other building materials can deteriorate and lose strength. In time, various aspects of the building may begin to crumble, break off, and fall to the ground below. When simple deterioration due to insufficient maintenance Old buildings pose a danger to anyone who happens to be below when a facade, brick, or other materials break off and plummet to the ground.
Falling Road Signs, Traffic Signals, And Trees Can Break and Strike Vehicles Or Pedestrians
Falling traffic signs, traffic lights, billboards, and falling shop, restaurant, or nightclub signs can also be extremely hazardous. For instance, a strong gust of wind may be able to loosen these objects from their tethers causing them to fall and crush or strike innocent victims below. Aside from adverse weather conditions that can contribute to structure failures include:
- a lack of regular maintenance
- faulty tethering
- defective hinges or fasteners
- rusting or deterioration of support poles
- faulty screws or bolts
Any defective sign designs may cause heavy signage to catastrophically injure people who happen to be below.
Products Can Fall From Retail Store Shelving And Injure Customers
Warehouse stores like Home Depot, Walmart, and Sam’s Club elicit thousands of complaints of falling merchandise every year. In all too many cases, these warehouse-style stores stack merchandise dozens of feet into the air. When products are improperly shelved by stacking products too high, in an unbalanced manner, or in some other unsafe fashion, then the risk for a veritable avalanche of products onto shoppers increases significantly. Depending on the type of goods at the store, severe and life altering injuries can be inflicted.
Falling Snow And Ice From Buildings Can Inflict Serious Injuries
In the fall, winter, and early spring Philadelphians know and understand that the city can be pummeled by winter weather. This weather may include significant accumulations of ice and snow. While most people are primarily concerned with precipitation that may accumulate underfoot and cause a slip and fall accident, snow and ice that may accumulate over one’s head can also present a risk for serious injury.
Snow and ice may accumulate on rooftops, eaves, and other locations on a building. Over time, the snow and ice may melt and refreeze several times. This melt and refreeze typically renders the precipitation into solid blocks of snow or ice. These blocks of snow or ice may break free during the melt and refreeze cycle and crash to the ground. This presents a serious risk to any pedestrian or passerby below. Building owners should take all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk presented by accumulations of snow and ice on buildings. Furthermore, icicles and the drip of water from the gutters can create both a falling object and a slip and fall hazard.
Can Falling Object Injuries Be Prevented?
In the vast majority of circumstance, the catastrophic injuries, and deaths that result from falling objects could have been prevented. Owners of deteriorating properties and buildings in disrepair have an obligation to make necessary building repairs to prevent building materials from breaking away and falling or to barricade areas near the property to prevent bystanders from being struck by falling facades and bricks. In other scenarios, a store worker owes a duty to customers to ensure that all products are stacked in a secure manner where they will not avalanche onto shoppers.
Furthermore, construction workers should always follow safety regulations to secure tools and supplies or block off areas where passersby could be struck if debris happened to drop. Employers should provide safety equipment to all of their workers like helmets, safety goggles, and overhead protection. Store and shops should use racks or secure large stacks and piles of merchandise to prevent them from tipping over onto unsuspecting customers.
Our Philadelphia Falling Object Injury Attorneys Fight For People Injured By Falling Debris
The experienced premises liability lawyers of Reiff & Bily firmly believe that safety is never an option or an election. Our personal injury lawyers fight aggressively to provide falling object victims and their families with compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We understand the devastating physical and emotional effects that catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths can have on everyone involved.
When you work with our firm, you can expect to work with an experienced attorney who cares about your injury and concerns. Attorney Jeffrey Reiff has more than 36 years of practical legal experience helping injured Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians pursue compensation from negligent, reckless, or careless parties. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at our Center City law firm, please call (215) 274-0072 today. If you have suffered a severe injury and are hospitalized, bed-ridden, or otherwise immobilized we may be able to arrange for a phone or in-person consultation.