The recent heartbreaking incident in Midwood, Brooklyn, where a baby tragically lost their life due to a steam radiator malfunction, has raised numerous concerns regarding premises liability and the safety standards in residential buildings.
A baby in Midwood, Brooklyn, suffered fatal injuries after being exposed to steam from a malfunctioning radiator. According to the Department of Buildings, the radiator exploded due to a separation in the part that connected the pipe feeding steam to the radiator. The mother, attending to another child in a different room, found the room filled with steam, likely exceeding 200 degrees.
Duty of Care
In premises liability law, property owners and managers have a duty of care towards their tenants and visitors. This duty includes maintaining a safe environment and promptly addressing any potential hazards. In the Midwood incident, the malfunctioning radiator and subsequent explosion point to a possible breach of this duty.
Previous Incidents and Comparative Analysis
The incident is reminiscent of a 2016 case in the Bronx, where two young girls were killed in a similar radiator explosion. Such recurring incidents raise questions about the adherence to safety standards and regular maintenance protocols in residential buildings.
Department of Buildings’ Findings
The Department of Buildings’ discovery of an illegally constructed laundry room in the building’s basement without proper permits, along with violations for Work Without a Permit and Failure to Maintain the Building, suggests negligence in the building’s overall maintenance and safety standards.
Tenant Rights and Landlord Responsibilities
Tenants have a right to a safe living environment. Landlords are responsible for ensuring that all appliances, including radiators, are in safe working condition. Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial in preventing such tragic incidents.
Legal Recourse for the Affected Family
While the police have ruled out criminality, the family of the victim may have grounds for a civil lawsuit based on premises liability. If negligence is proven, the landlord could be held liable for damages, including wrongful death, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
The Midwood tragedy is a stark reminder of the importance of stringent safety standards and regular maintenance in residential buildings. Landlords must prioritize tenant safety to prevent such devastating incidents. As premises liability lawyers, our role is to ensure that victims and their families receive justice and that property owners are held accountable for their negligence.