According to the New York City Department of Buildings, there are more than 70,000 passenger elevators throughout the five boroughs. These can be found in office buildings, apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals, subway stations, airports, retail centers, theaters, and many other locations. Importantly, while these elevators may be used hundreds of times per day, they must be properly maintained and kept in a safe condition. When they are in disrepair or malfunction, elevator accidents can arise leading to catastrophic injuries, or even fatality.
Causes of Elevator Accidents
Most people use elevators on a daily basis and don’t have a second thought when they step into one. But unfortunately, elevators that are in need of repair or have malfunctioning features can put passengers at risk of serious harm. From electrocution to amputation, crush injuries, broken bones, concussions, and paralysis, the injuries that can occur due to a faulty elevator can be debilitating, disabling, and life-changing.
Common reasons elevator accidents may occur can include the following:
- Poor maintenance
- High speed
- Faulty doors
- Lack of repairs
- Defective wiring
- Pulley system defects
Elevator accidents are never expected — but when they happen, they can require extensive medical treatment and cause a victim to lose time from work. If you were hurt due to a defective elevator, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury action for your injuries. By commencing a lawsuit, you might be eligible to recover your economic and non-economic damages.
Liability for New York City Elevator Accidents
Whether you’ve been hurt due to a sudden drop of the elevator, doors that closed too quickly or tripped and fell because of misleveling, you may be able to hold the responsible party accountable under the theory of premises liability. Critically, a property owner has a legal duty to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe and free from known hazards — this includes elevators in their building. If an owner knew or should have known about the problem with the elevator that caused your injuries, and failed to timely repair it, they may be held liable for negligence.
In addition to the owner of the property, there may be several other parties who can be held accountable for an elevator accident. Other potentially liable parties may include the company that installed the elevator, a property maintenance company, or the elevator repair company. The manufacturer of the elevator might even be held liable in the event the accident was caused by a design defect or manufacturing flaw. If the elevator accident occurred on property owned by the City of New York, you may be able to sue the City or an applicable agency.
The facts and circumstances surrounding every elevator accident case are unique and it’s crucial to have the representation of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can investigate your claim and identify every possible liable party. In some cases, more than one defendant might be named in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney
Elevator accidents can be complex — there are many city and state laws that can come into play regarding elevator installation, maintenance, and operations. If you were injured by a defective elevator, it’s vital to have a skilled personal injury attorney by your side who can help you navigate the process of filing a lawsuit and obtain the compensation you deserve.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they secure the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.