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Who is at fault when a tenant falls to her death?

Who is responsible for the death of a woman who falls six feet out of a loft bed in a New York City apartment? Is the building owner or maintenance supervisor to blame or should the woman be blamed for clumsily losing her footing on the ladder?

The answer depends on multiple factors. For instance, was there a structural deficiency in the ladder up to the loft or the loft itself that caused or contributed to the fatality? Had she been nagging management to fix a problem that ultimately wound up killing her?

Alternatively, did another individual's negligence or the deceased woman's likely intoxication on the night of her death play a role in the tragic accident?

This real-life scenario played out in Brooklyn on July 25 when a 28-year-old British clothing designer fell to her death while descending from the loft in the Driggs Ave. apartment located in the Greenpoint section of the borough.

Her boyfriend found her at approximately 8 a.m. after a night out drinking in New York City. The woman was lying beneath the loft bed with a bleeding head wound, according to police and media reports. He called 911, and first responders arrived and transported the badly injured woman to Woodhull Hosptal Center where she succumbed to her injuries.

After investigating, police hypothesize that she lost her balance coming down the ladder from the loft. As she tumbled, her head struck a ceiling hook.

According to the British tabloid The Sun, the injured woman was originally from Maidstone, Kent. Her boyfriend admitted to cops that the couple had been out drinking the night before, which may have been a contributing factor in the fatal fall.

As you can see, determining fault can be complicated. A New York City attorney familiar with premises liability laws can provide further guidance in these type of cases.

Source: New York Daily News, "Woman falls to her death from loft bed in Brooklyn apartment," Rocco Parascandola and Thomas Tracy, accessed Sep. 22, 2017

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