Most of us never think about climbing into an elevator. We may be in the financial district, in a large shopping center, or visiting our physician and rather than take the stairs, we climb into the elevator. While work-related elevator accidents are common, non-work elevator injuries are a real possibility. Two recent New York accidents highlight the dangers of working around or on elevators.
- Brooklyn Newlywed Suddenly a Widow — during a modernization of an elevator, this mechanic was crushed when an elevator fell on top of him.
- 1 dead, 1 seriously injured in Bronx elevator accident — a freight elevator collapsed and fell several stories at a Bronx construction site killing one person instantly.
Hazards of Elevators on Job SitesU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data reflects the hazards of work-related elevator injuries. On an annual basis, elevators and escalators result in as many as 70,000 injuries and 30 deaths on an annual basis across the United States. Some of the most common causes of elevator injuries and death include:
- Falling into an Elevator Shaft — if elevator doors are not closing properly or the door opening does not have a warning sign, there is a potential for someone to fall into the shaft.
- Malfunctioning Doors — passengers entering or exiting an elevator can be crushed by a door which is malfunctioning, causing serious injury or death.
- Unsafe Speeds — when an elevator is traveling too fast and comes to a stop, passengers can fall to the ground because of the impact of the stop.
- Unbalanced Leveling — when the elevator has not been properly maintained, the result may be the stop mechanism results in a gap between the elevator and the floor. This can result in a trip and fall injury.
- Faulty Wiring — any issues with the wiring of an elevator can lead to fires, short circuits which result in the elevator stopping, and failed lighting which can all lead to injuries.
- Pulley System Malfunction — this mechanism prevents the elevator from dropping unfettered to the bottom. When a pulley system malfunctions, anyone on the elevator can suffer life-threatening injuries, or may lose their life.
- Lack of Elevator Maintenance from Property Owners or Manufacturers — despite the fact New York has stringent policies regarding elevator inspections, too often maintenance is left until an accident occurs.
New York Elevator Maintenance and Inspection RequirementsThe NYC Building Codes requires an inspection approved independent third-party agencies licensed by the Department of Buildings (DOB). These inspections are mandatory, and owners are required to ensure they have the proper inspections completed in a timely manner or they will face stiff fines and penalties. Building owners are also required to maintain a Maintenance Control Program (MCP) and to inform anyone who leases property at the building to be notified at least 10 days prior to any work being started. Any work done must comply with New York’s regulations and the work must be properly permitted.
Injuries Sustained in Elevator AccidentsFor those fortunate enough to escape death in an elevator accident, their injuries can range from broken bones to crushed organs. Recovering from an elevator injury takes time. Some of the most common elevator accident injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries — these can occur when an elevator is traveling too fast, and the sudden stop results in a passenger falling. Falls into an elevator shaft can result in a severing injury which can leave a victim paralyzed.
- Head injuries — a sudden jolt, tripping on a floor because of unbalanced leveling, or a door closing as you are entering or leaving an elevator can mean a concussion, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Broken bones — which can be caused by falling due to poor leveling or falling into an area which is not properly secured.
- Crushing injuries — when the doors malfunction and the electronic eyes fail to detect motion, a departing or embarking passenger can suffer a crushing injury.
- Fire related injuries — when the electrical system malfunctions if there is a fire, a victim may be trapped inside. Smoke inhalation and burns which can be fatal could result.
Holding Accountable Parties Liable for DamagesWhen an elevator fails, the person who is liable is typically the property owner. New York premises liability lawyers at Chaikin LaPenna, PLLC can help you determine if someone other than the owner is liable for the injuries or losses you suffered. If there are other parties responsible, we can determine who they are and ensure they are held financially accountable.
A Personal Injury Lawyer in New York Can HelpWhile accidents can occur anytime, knowing you were injured on-the-job or while attending to everyday business because of a poorly maintained elevator can lead to anger and frustration. You can schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with one of our attorneys. If we take your case, and you hire us, you can feel confident your legal costs will be paid only if and when we are able to get a settlement for your case. Hiring a lawyer to help you recover the financial losses associated with your injury or your personal loss. No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, nor can it make up for the pain and suffering you are facing as a result of elevator injuries. However, this does not mean the responsible parties cannot be held accountable. Chaikin LaPenna, PLLC is committed to helping anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one or suffered an injury in a New York elevator accident recover financially.
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