Who is Responsible for Maintaining the Grates?
Most of the grates on the sidewalk are part of the building next to them. The grates lead to the cellars or the cellar door of the building. It’s the means for maintenance workers to gain access to the cellar of the building for repairs. The owner of the building is responsible for the grates that lead to their cellar, so they will need to make sure it’s always in good repair. There are other grates in the street that belong to the city and are maintained by the department of transportation. There are many regulations regarding the ability to seek compensation from the city if you’ve been injured on one of their grates.
Issues with the Grates
The grates themselves are open to the elements, which includes rain, snow and salt. Millions of feet stepping on the grates along with the corrosive salt used during the winter can cause the grates to become rusty and weak. The edges of the grate can wiggle free of their mountings too.
Potential Grate Accidents
When the owner doesn’t maintain or regularly repair the cellar grate, it can cause serious problems and be the cause of serious injuries. The grate can become uneven, so that a pedestrian can trip over an piece of metal. The grate might collapse slightly into the street, which is another tripping hazard. A pedestrian might twist an ankle and fall. One of the worst issues with a cellar grate is a hazard that causes the grate to collapse.
Cellar doors can have the same problems as cellar grates. They can also become uneven, which results in doors that don’t meet properly.
A person who falls through a grate can expect to have serious injuries that can last for a long time. The injuries from a fall can result in a loss of work and mounting medical bills. To get compensation for their injuries, the person has to prove negligence by the property owner. The property owner has to maintain his or her property, but there could be other circumstances involved in the cause of the accident. This is why it’s vital to consult with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the laws surrounding cellar grates and their defects.
Defective Cellar Grate Definition
The Department of Transportation has a definition of cellar doors that are defective. The grate has to be skid resistant and have a defect no greater than one inch when stepped on by a pedestrian. That definition applies to doors and grates owned by the DOT of New York while owners of properties with cellar doors have liabilities that are not covered by the DOT because they are private property. There’s much to consider when trying to find out who is liable for your injuries.
There are legal remedies available to pedestrians who have fallen because of a defective, neglected or faulty cellar grate. Consulting with an experienced attorney should be your first step after falling into a cellar grate in New York.