According to a recent news article from WTSP, an air conditioning unit was being lifted on a crane in New York City when it fell to the ground and injured 10 people. Witnesses say the air conditioning unit was an extremely large commercial size unit that was being lifted by crane to the top of a skyscraper on Madison Avenue.
The air conditioning unit was 28 stories above street level when it fell and landed in the middle of crowded Madison Avenue just before 11 a.m. The falling air conditioning unit injured 10 people. Authorities say eight of the ten victims were passengers of passing cars and pedestrians walking on the street below, and the remaining two victims were construction workers involved in the installation of the air conditioner. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement following the incident and said nobody was directly struck by the air conditioner itself, as all of the injuries were caused by debris from the unit after it crashed onto the street. He said all injuries were minor, and all victims were taken to local hospitals, where they received treatment.
Police and building inspectors are conducting an investigation into how the air conditioner managed to fall 28 stories to the street below. They believe the crane itself was and still is in good working order and said that is all they could say at this time. From those comments, people are obviously assuming operator error in securing the payload or moving the crane boom may have played a role in this rather unusual accident, but, it should be noted, there has been no finding of liability on anyone’s part as of the time this article was released.
However, as our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys can explain, in certain types of accidents, it is necessary to prove exactly how an accident occurred in order for a defendant to be found negligent. This is what lawyers and judges refer to as res ipsa loquitur negligence. This is a Latin expression that literally translates to “the facts speak for themselves.” Essentially, if defendant has exclusive control over an instrumentality, which ultimately caused a personal injury or property damage, and the accident could not have happened absent negligence by the defendant, it is not necessary to prove a breach of one’s duty of care through specific conduct in court.
For example, if a person is walking past a factory where dishwashers are manufactured, and that person is injured or killed by a dishwasher that falls from the roof of the factory, it is not necessary to prove why or how the dishwasher fell onto the plaintiff, but, obviously, this accident could not have happened without defendant acting negligent in some way. In other words, the facts speak for themselves.
However, proving duty and breach only satisfy two of the four elements necessary to prove a negligence case in South Carolina. It is also necessary to prove the breach of duty of care was the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries and that plaintiff suffered damages.
Contact our Spartanburg personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
AC unit being lifted by crane in NYC falls; 10 injured, June 1, 2015, News 10
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Study: Child Toys Cause Injury Every 3 Minutes in U.S., Feb. 23, 2015, Spartanburg Personal Injury Lawyer Blog