In this land of high-rise apartments and office buildings and towering skyscrapers, many New York City residents ride safely in elevators several times a day, and many people may think the chances of a personal injury or wrongful death from an elevator accident are remote. While elevators are generally safe and convenient, and often a necessity, accidents do happen, quite often as a result of an elevator malfunction that could have been prevented had better care been taken by the property owner.
According to studies conducted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and others, about six people on average die each year in elevator accidents, and thousands more are injured. More recently and closer to home, a 2009 New York Times review of New York City Housing Authority records found approximately 300 injuries over an eight-year period just in NYC public housing alone.
Elevators should be routinely inspected and maintained by the property owner or occupier, often through the contracted services of a professional elevator maintenance company. When maintenance is neglected or improperly performed, the results can be disastrous. Elevator injuries can range from bruises, lacerations, and fractures to head injuries, amputations of fingers and toes or even arms and legs, and even horrible deaths by decapitation or blunt force trauma. These accidents could be the fault of the property owner or the maintenance company, or other entities, such as electricians who installed faulty wiring that affected the elevator system. Also, the manufacturer of the elevator or replacement parts may have sold a unit that was defective when it left the factory, leading to an equipment failure at a critical moment.
The causes of elevator injuries are numerous, including:
- Doors close too quickly while people are entering or exiting
- Doors do not open or close, requiring stranded passengers to attempt to pull them apart or shut
- Car suddenly shoots up or down very rapidly
- Car gets stuck between floors
- Elevator stops above or below floor level, causing a trip and fall
- Doors open to an empty shaft
The loss of a limb or even the tip of a finger can be excruciatingly painful and leave one permanently disabled or disfigured, often with a loss of use that affects one’s employment. Even when physical injuries are minor, the shock and trauma associated with an elevator accident can cause severe emotional distress and mental anguish, including post traumatic stress disorder. If you have been injured in an elevator accident in New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for help in obtaining compensation for your injuries from the responsible parties.