We have all been in situations where we have been to another person’s house and thought, “I would never let this happen at my place.” Whether it’s dirty dishes in the sink or a handrail that gives splinters, we all have different standards. However, regardless of what our personal standards are, there also legal standards that property owners must follow.
Property owners are responsible for keeping their property in safe condition. In New York, if homeowners learn of any unsafe conditions on their properties, they must take immediate steps to fix it or appropriately warn others of the danger. When homeowners fail to properly maintain their property, they put others in danger. One community is learning that lesson the hard way after a mail carrier was killed when a porch collapsed beneath her.
Last week, Nancy was delivering mail along her usual route when the porch she was standing on collapsed. The porch was built over a former entrance to the basement, so during the collapse, both Nancy and the porch fell about 10 feet. Nancy was talking on her cell phone at the time of the accident, and she communicated that she needed help.
When Nancy fell, a large concrete slab from the porch landed on her. Although rescue workers arrived quickly and worked to free her, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities believe the 500-pound slab likely suffocated her.
At the time of the collapse, the owners of the home were not present. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the porch collapsed, but the property owners could be held liable for the wrongful death their negligently-maintained property caused.
Source: UPI, “Mail carrier killed in porch collapse,” 9 March 2011