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Architect's death could be followed by premises liability claim

The owner of a New York City skyscraper could possibly be held liable for the death of an attending architect. Even when under construction, property must be reasonably safe with posted cautions for dangers that are not otherwise easily noted. When property owners fail to provide reasonably safe accommodations, they can be held responsible through the successful actions of a premises liability suit.

The 52-year-old architect and owner of the architecture firm working with the building recently visited the rooftop. Plans call for a rooftop terrace to be installed with glass barriers. Currently, however, the terrace is equipped with a parapet that is only 18 inches tall. It is believed that the architect was taking measurements near the edge of the roof when he stood and suddenly fell over the parapet. He tragically fell to his death.

Initial reports indicated that he was wearing a safety harness at the time of the fall. However, the safety harness had never been attached to anything, making it essentially useless as it was unsecured. The deadly accident is still under investigation by both the Department of Buildings and local police, and the architect's company chose to close its doors for a few days after the death of its owner.

Described as an unfortunate accident by a New York City official, it is one that might have been avoided if necessary safety protocols had been employed and followed. Premises liability suits can help victims and their families recover costs related to property-based damages. Legal recourse often covers medical bills, pain and suffering and unexpected funeral costs.

Source: Fox News, "Architect dies in fall from New York City skyscraper", Sept. 16, 2016

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