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Falling AC units in New York: not a myth

Nevada residents may or may not be familiar with the usual safety concerns that grip New Yorkers, but some of them are myths. A penny thrown from the top of the Empire State Building, for instance, will not gather enough momentum to kill someone below upon impact. Another concern, though, has solid grounding in fact.

Many older apartments have AC units precariously hanging on their windows, and when these fall, they have the potential to kill. The average unit is about 40 pounds and can fatally injure pedestrians at the speed of 25 mph. Even units that are two or three stories up are liable to gain that much speed. On the other hand, while science shows that it's possible, it rarely occurs. Approximately four people were injured or killed by falling ACs in the past decade.

Many law firms, knowing that there is still a possibility, have blog posts that detail what clients' rights are in the case of such incidents. Determining liability is not as easy as it seems, as the defendant could be anyone from the building owner to the tenant to the AC contractor. In most cases, the landlord has a duty to ensure that window ACs are professionally installed according to the city's guidelines.

People who get hurt by a falling object on another's property can file a claim under premises liability law. Before they file, though, they can have a lawyer evaluate their claim and factor in any negligence on their part. The lawyer can then negotiate for a settlement and take the case to court if the offer is inadequate.

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