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Investigation launched after fall kills Coachella lead rigger

Music fans in New York and around the country may be saddened to learn that a stagehand lost his life on the morning of April 6 while setting up a stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The stagehand fell 60 feet to his death while climbing scaffolding on one of the festival's many sound stages. A representative from the Indio Police Department said that he was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 9:30 a.m.

A statement released by the festival organizers reveals that the man had 20 years of experience and was the group's lead rigger when he died. Media accounts suggest that he was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident, but they do not indicate whether such a harness was available. Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Riverside County Coroner's Office are trying to determine what led to the deadly fall.

Airports may require tenants to have liability insurance

For some New York small airports, premises liability coverage can be an important consideration. Property owners and even tenants can be held liable for injuries or other damages that occur as a result of negligence. Most companies doing business on airport property may be required to maintain such insurance as part of their contracts with the airport itself. In general, these contracts, part of the rental or purchase agreement with the airport, require tenants to carry liability insurance to cover costs that arise out of their own negligence.

There are several different types of liability insurance, but most provide the same general form of coverage that protects a business in case people are injured due to hazardous conditions, inadequate security, or other types of negligence. At the same time, some airports attempt to pass on all of their liability for negligence on to their tenants, a choice that can be questionable given the airport owner's responsibility for general maintenance and oversight of the property.

What business owners should know about premises liability

New York businesses should be aware of premises liability law. Premises liability refers to the responsibility that owners and managers have for certain injuries that occur on their property. First of all, owners have a duty of care to all entrants (in some cases, even to trespassers) to provide a reasonably safe environment, and if they fail to do this through inadequate policies and procedures, they may face a lawsuit.

Many premises liability lawsuits involve what are known as slip and fall accidents. Victims may slip on icy sidewalks or wet floors; trip on cracked pavement, on torn carpeting or in cluttered aisles; or fall down poorly-lit stairs with loose railings. Owners should know that it is their responsibility to address these dangerous conditions in a timely manner.

Woman falls from roller coaster in Las Vegas casino

New York residents who fear roller coasters may feel vindicated after hearing about the recent accident in Las Vegas. On March 25, a woman who fell from the "El Loco" roller coaster in the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino was taken to a nearby hospital. The extent of her injuries has not been disclosed.

The Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus had to be closed after the incident, and the ride has been issued a Prohibited Use Notice. Until further notice is given, the ride will only be operated for the purposes of inspection and testing. Since the incident is still under investigation, it is unclear just how the woman fell off the ride.

Suit filed in Long Island graveyard sinkhole case

It sounds like a bad horror movie plot — a woman goes to visit her parents' grave at sunset and gets trapped in a sinkhole over the grave. Yet this is exactly what happened to one unfortunate New York woman.

The incident unfolded at St. Charles Resurrection cemetery on Long Island on Dec. 19, 2016. She was visiting the grave of her mother and father just before the winter dusk set in. As she bent over to adjust a wreath decorating the grave, her weight shifted and she was swallowed into the grave up to her hips.

Avoiding negligence issues with liability waivers

From gyms to water parks, there are many places in New York where members, customers or visitors are typically asked to sign a liability waiver. It's a step a retail or property owner often takes in an attempt to avoid legal responsibility should an injury occur. As for whether or not such waivers can hold up in court, the answer is, "it depends."

It's really the language of the liability wavier that matters. It often comes down to what activities, actions or responsibilities are referenced in the document. For instance, a waiver for joining a gym might reference an acknowledgement that a gym owner is not responsible if someone uses a piece of equipment incorrectly and sustains an injury. However, courts have a tendency not to favor liability waivers.

Lawsuit over 2009 bus crash in Greenburgh ends in settlement

Avid cyclists in New York may have heard about a fatal bus accident that occurred in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County back in 2009. This accident led to the death of a cyclist, the passing of a new traffic law and a lawsuit from the cyclist's wife. Almost 10 years later, in March 2019, the lawsuit ended in a settlement of $75,000.

On the afternoon of Nov. 6, 2009, a 66-year-old resident of Greenburgh was bicycling on Route 119 near the Aqueduct Road intersection when a Bee Line bus sideswiped and killed him. In 2010, his wife filed the lawsuit against Westchester County and Liberty Lines, which operates the county's bus system.

Shopping-related personal injury claims

Every year in New York and across the U.S., thousands of people file lawsuits involving shopping-related injuries. These injuries normally result from slips, trips and falls in stores, malls and other retail establishments and tend to be minor. In serious cases, though, they may result in head and neck injuries, broken bones and sprains.

Injuries arise in many ways. Entrants may slip on a wet floor, trip on torn carpeting or fall down a flight of poorly lit stairs. Escalators may malfunction, shopping carts may turn over and displays may fall over. Some may be trampled in a shopping spree, while others may be injured on the icy or cracked pavement of parking lots. If victims believe the store owner is responsible, they could file a personal injury lawsuit.

NTSB releases report on 2017 New York bus accident

On Feb. 21, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report on a fatal charter bus crash that happened in New York in 2017. The bus was traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour when it ran a red light and hit a city bus. The driver, a pedestrian and a passenger on the city bus were all killed.

Authorities determined that a mobile phone was not a distraction for the driver. However, a thermos that rolled between the accelerator and brake pedals may have been a factor in or a cause of the crash. After the crash, investigators found the thermos near its pedals. The NTSB was unable to make a definitive statement about its role.

How homeowners can avoid accidents during the next party

Homeowners in New York who are planning a get-together full of swimming, eating and drinking should be aware of the safety risks. Things may break, people may slip and fall, and others may misbehave themselves. Homeowners insurance will only cover so much, so homeowners should be clear with their insurance agent about the presence of high-risk features on their property like swimming pools and trampolines.

The following are just a few tips that homeowners can consider before their next party. First, hosts should let the guests know beforehand about swimming pools and other features so that they can plan accordingly. Second, it's wise to limit the number of invitees. If unfamiliar people come, hosts may want to turn them away. Parking should be provided for; that way, guests are not forced to park in tight spots or on others' property. The first can lead to vehicle damage, the second to a ticket.

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