A woman who suffered a medical condition at a New York City shelter died after getting trapped in an elevator that malfunctioned. According to a WABC news report, she was inside the elevator with EMTs for nearly an hour. Residents and family members told ABC that the woman might have still been alive and been able to get to the hospital in time had the women’s shelter on East 45th Street maintained their elevators properly.
Malfunctioning Building Elevators
The news outlet stated that the 60-year-old homeless woman had gone into cardiac arrest earlier. Medics who responded to the emergency had to use a service elevator because the shelter’s main elevator had been broken down for months. But, the service elevator also broke down trapping the woman and the EMTs inside.
According to the New York City Department of Buildings records, the shelter has a long list of complaints regarding the passenger elevator dating back several years including an open violation from November for failure to repair the elevator. The building is owned by the city’s Department of Homeless Services, but is operated by Project Renewal. City officials have said the nonprofit is responsible for elevator maintenance.
But Project Renewal’s spokesman told ABC that the elevator that broke down is a new one that was recently installed with city funding. Some shelter residents say a lack of urgency in repairing the main elevator may have cost the woman her life. Soon after the incident, both elevators were repaired.
Poorly-Maintained Building Elevators
The New York City Department of Buildings, which oversees elevator installation and maintenance citywide, estimates that since 2010, at least 22 people have been killed in passenger elevators or due to falls into elevator shafts citywide. Also, during the same period, the city agency estimates that there have been about 500 elevator accidents in New York City, of which 48 have led to serious injuries.
About 50 percent of these involved passengers, but a majority of those who suffered fatal injuries were elevator mechanics. It is interesting to note that while New York has more elevators than Chicago and Los Angeles combined, the city has no requirement to mandate licensing and training for elevator mechanics. A recent investigation by The Real Deal magazine found that a dearth in inspections by city inspectors and poor training for elevator mechanics have had an adverse effect on elevator safety in New York City.
Also, in many cases, landlords and property managers don’t face penalties when they neglect elevator safety. This obviously gives them little incentive to prioritize elevator repair or safety. These factors have all played a part in making city elevators more dangerous – presenting a serious risk of injury and death to the millions of people who use them every day.
Elevator Accidents and Liability
In elevator accident cases, there are a number of parties who may potentially be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. The building owner and property manager may be held accountable if they had failed to maintain the elevator or didn’t make timely repairs. Some of the other parties who can be held responsible include elevator maintenance companies that fail to do a repair correctly or an elevator manufacturer, especially if any of the equipment failed due to defective design or manufacturing.
Victims who have been injured in an elevator accident should understand that they have legal rights. Injured victims can file what is known as a premises liability lawsuit against at-fault property owners and/or managing agents, etc. and seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Those who have lost loved ones in elevator accidents may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent (careless) parties seeking compensation for their losses as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident or suffered injuries as a result of negligence (carelessness) on the part of property owners and/or property managers etc., 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 after a fatal escalator accident in Montreal, Mr. 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.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. 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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