Millions of us use elevators every day without a passing thought as to its safe operation. But every once in a while, a true horror story makes headlines that causes us to reconsider our security as we enter and exit that little box.
Suzanne Hart, a 41-year-old executive at one of Manhattan’s most prominent advertising firms, wasn’t thinking about it when she stepped into the elevator of an 85-year-old Midtown office building in December 2011. She had only one foot inside when the elevator suddenly lurched up, pinning her between the elevator and the wall. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 27 people are killed in elevator accidents each year. Many more are injured.
The premises liability lawyers of The Sanders Firm understand that these numbers, though perhaps small relative to our widespread reliance and use of elevators, believe that these statistics would be even lower if property owners and operators of these machines acted without negligence.
Types of elevator accident injuries
ConsumerWatch.com, a database that monitors news about product safety issues, says that about 10,200 elevator accident injuries are reported each year. Most of these are related to elevator door malfunction, carriage misalignment with floors, and passenger safety vulnerabilities.
Possible malfunctions that can lead to elevator accident injuries include:
- Elevator cables snap
- Elevators suddenly drop or stop
- Elevator doors open when the cabin is not present
- Elevator doors open unexpectantly when someone leans on them
- The elevator does not line up properly with the floor
- The doors become jammed or close at improper times
- The elevator suddenly accelerates or decelerates, or goes too fast
- People become trapped in a malfunctioning elevator
- People become trapped in the doorway of the elevator
- Wet surfaces cause slips and falls
- Electric malfunctions result in electrocution
Injuries that may result from these types of malfunctions are wide ranging from the psychological trauma of witnesses to injuries to the wrongful death of an innocent passenger. Physical injuries may include broken bones, back and neck injuries, tendon and nerve lacerations, head injuries, fractures and sprains, injuries that lead to amputations, paralysis, brain damage, and death.
Liability in an elevator accident
If someone suffers from an elevator accident in NYC or any New York area borough, certain individuals and entities may be held accountable. In the case of Suzanne Hart, the elevator service company may be responsible, as they performed maintenance on the elevator just hours before the accident. The elevator manufacturer may be to blame for using faulty parts or having prior knowledge of problems with components of the elevator without a timely remedial response.
In addition, property owners may be liable, as they are responsible for the adequate upkeep of the buildings in which the elevators reside. If they ignored requests for repair, took short cuts to save money, failed to maintain timely inspections, or were otherwise negligent in keeping the elevator in good working condition, a New York personal injury lawyer may take proper legal action against such owners.
New York personal injury lawyer
If you’ve been harmed in an elevator accident or slip and fall in NYC, you already have a lot to deal with. You may be facing surgery, continued medical care, medical bills, loss of financial support, rehabilitation costs, and more.
The Sanders Firm has a long history of litigating New York elevator accident injuries in court. A successful personal injury lawsuit can help recover the lost wages, the medical costs, as well as compensate victims for the pain and suffering inflicted as a result of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an elevator accident in NYC or any of the surrounding areas, a free consultation with The Sanders Law Firm can help you determine the extent of your rights and whether you may be eligible for filing a premises liability lawsuit in New York. You deserve representation. Call toll-free: 1-800-Fair-Play (800-324-7752).