Struck by a Squeegee

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Q: In New York City, I was walking on a sidewalk.  With a squeegee, a worker was cleaning the windows of the abutting building.  Below the window-washing apparatus, there were absolutely no warning signs or barriers.  The squeegee fell from a scaffold and struck me.  The cleaning contractor had been hired by the building manager.

A: Generally, a landowner owes a duty of care to maintain his or her property in a reasonably safe condition.  That duty is premised on the landowner’s exercise of control over the property, as the person in possession and control of property is best able to identify and prevent any harm to others.

However, a landowner who has transferred possession and control over the property generally is not liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on the property.  For example, the landowner may not own the building itself and may have no control over the contractor’s work at the building.

As for the building manager, seemingly it knew (or had reason to know) that the work it hired the contractor to perform was inherently dangerous to pedestrians.  And quite possibly the manager’s agreement with the building owner was comprehensive and exclusive.  To the extent that these circumstances hold true, the manager owed a nondelegable duty to you.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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