We settled a case for $100,000 in which the client tripped and fell on a “hidden” curb within Rockefeller Center. The client sustained an arm fracture injury.
The client, a tourist from California, tripped on a curb in front of the GE Building. She was leaving a retail store and was crossing the street to meet her boyfriend.
The street in front of the building is a private street closed to traffic. Rockefeller Center paved the roadway and curb in similar, decorative stone. By way of comparison, typical city sidewalks are grey concrete while the roadway is black asphalt. This contrast provides a “visual cue” to the pedestrian that she should be ready to step-down from the curb to the road. Furthermore, Rockefeller Center places benches and planters in the roadway, motor vehicles are banned, and the “street” is a pedestrian only zone. The arrangement gave the illusion that there was no roadway and that the front of the building was one plaza connecting to the back of the skating rink.
Other, similar falls had occurred in the past. After our client’s accident, Rockefeller Center placed yellow hazard tape on the curb’s edge at regular intervals to prevent further injuries.
It is interesting to note that there was nothing wrong with the roadway and curb based on the building codes. The curb and roadway were in excellent condition. However, the key to the case was that the construction and design did not provide a “visual cue” to the pedestrian that she was approaching a curb.
Subsequent to this accident we were retained in other matters involving the same defect in the Rockefeller Plaza curb. Despite the numerous accidents at this area, Rockefeller Center has not changed the curb.
Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.