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Woman Slips and Falls in Madison Avenue Office Building


On July 26, 2006, at about 11:30 at night, a woman was leaving 335 Madison Avenue where she worked. As she walked across the atrium area, she slipped on a puddle of water that was dripping from an air conditioner vent on the ceiling (slip and fall). She informed the front security attendant that there was water on the floor and that she had slipped and injured herself. However, on the next day, when she returned to work, the water was still there.

It was determined that the water had developed as a result of humidity building up on the vent because the atrium was an area of high humidity. The woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against the janitorial service and the building management for causing the condition that caused her to fall and become injured. In New York, a slip and fall injury case can only be conducted if the victim of the injury can show that the defendants who are named in the suit either caused the hazardous situation, or knew of the situation and did not take steps to rectify it. A New York Injury Lawyer said they can also show that the defendant should have known of the existence of the problem and failed to take steps to rectify the situation in a timely fashion. The defendant must be given time to correct the problem or warn the public that the hazard is present.

In this case, the building management company called their heating and air conditioning manager to testify on their behalf. His first testimony stated that at the time of the accident, the heating and air conditioning system that was located in the building did not possess a fan system to prevent water from condensing on the vents. He stated that after the accident, the equipment was retrofitted to have fans that come on in high humidity situations. However, one year later in court, he testified that the system at the time of the accident had an alarm that would sound when high humidity situations were present. After the alarm sounds, there was a fan that would come on to prevent condensation build up. Because of the testimony that he presented, the building management claimed that they had taken all of the steps that they possibly could to prevent an injury from condensation leakage. Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they maintained that it is the responsibility of the janitorial service to ensure that the floors are clean and dry. They requested a summary judgment on their behalf to sever them from the lawsuit.

The building owner and management maintain that they have a contractual indemnification which prevents them from being included in the lawsuit and the maintenance company that includes the janitorial service is the sole holder of all liability associated with this suit. They further note that the contract required that the maintenance company obtain insurance before working in the building. They did not obtain insurance and did not present proof of any insurance to the court. They also maintained that per their contractual agreement, the maintenance company was to pay any and all attorneys’ fees that might arise from a breach of contract or negligence case.

The court determined that the building management was responsible for some of the personal injury claim of the woman who worked in the building. However, the court also determined that the maintenance company was in violation of their contractual agreement with the building management and as such must pay their attorney’s fees and go forward to trial with their failure to obtain insurance. A Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer said the court determined that the maintenance company was also responsible for some of the personal injury claim of the woman and that the liability for the personal injury claim is determined by summary judgment on behalf of the woman who fell.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, New York slip and fall attorneys can help you formulate your claim for recovered damages. We are located in convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. A New York personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

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