Just months after a man was killed in a Kips Bay apartment building elevator accident, new legislation that officials hope will bolster elevator safety in New York is awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. According to a report in the New York Post, the Elevator Safety Act would require state-licensed elevator mechanics and others who oversee maintenance of the about 70,000 elevators in the city’s high rises to get more extensive education and training. The tragic death of the 30-year-old man on Aug. 22 in the Manhattan Promenade building is still under investigation by city officials.
Enhancing Elevator Safety
This particular elevator safety law has been in process for nine years as it had stalled in the state Senate when the Republicans controlled it and due to opposition from City Hall and real estate interests. Now a Democrat-controlled state Senate and Assembly have both passed the bill. While Cuomo’s office still has questions and “minor issues” about the legislation, sponsors of the bill are confident that they can get these issues ironed out and pass the much-needed law to promote elevator safety, the Post reports.
This measure is backed by the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1, which has long sought licensing rules to toughen up elevator safety in New York as well as for setting minimum education and training standards for elevator mechanics. The proposal would also create a nine-member Elevator Contractors License and an Elevator Safety and Standards Board, with members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders. More than 30 other states already have similar laws in place.
Meanwhile, the de Blasio administration has dropped objections to the bill, which it raised in previous years. City Hall officials said previously that the Department of Buildings had its own licenses for building elevator directors and inspectors, and argued that such state laws were unnecessary.
Elevator Mechanics at Risk of Injury
About 27 people are killed in elevator accidents each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 10,000 people every year are injured due to elevator accidents. Nearly 50 percent of elevator-related fatalities involve workers such as construction workers or repairmen. For passengers using elevators in locations such as apartment buildings, nearly half of the deaths were due to falls in the elevator shaft and the other half occurred as a result of being caught between the elevator and the shaft wall.
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, elevator installers and repairers also known as elevator mechanics were by far the largest occupation affected by elevator accidents, accounting for 36 percent of the deaths during work on or near elevators. The main causes of death for elevator mechanics were being caught in/between elevators and elevator shafts followed by falls, being struck by objects (mostly elevators) and collapses. Although elevator installers and repairers are divided roughly equally between construction and general industry, about 80 percent of the deaths in this group affected employees of construction contractors. Construction elevator installers and repairers have the sixth-highest rate of work-related deaths of all construction trades, statistics show.
Liability in Elevator Accidents
Depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident, several parties may potentially be held liable for an elevator accident. In many cases, plaintiffs may be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner and/or manager for failing to properly maintain the elevator. The maintenance company may be held liable for improper or inadequate repairs as well.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to examine all aspects of the case and help plaintiffs (injured parties) seek and obtain maximum compensation for their losses. Injured victims of elevator accidents can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator or escalator accident or if you have lost a loved one in such an accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our law firm recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. In an interview by the Canadian television station Global News (similar to NBC) after a fatal escalator accident in Montreal, Kenneth A. Wilhelm stated that the installation of emergency stop buttons that are easily located and run the entire length of the escalator stairs may go a long way in preventing escalator accident injuries and fatalities. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys”> We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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