Elevator accidents in New York are an infrequent occurrence. When they occur, they can be extremely scary for passengers as passengers are often helpless and have done nothing to cause the accident. As reported by the New York Post, a 50-year old woman was trapped inside an elevator for the entire weekend at the premises located on East 65th Street. The elevator was apparently stuck between floors and the owners were out of town for the weekend. Upon returning on Monday morning, the owners discovered the woman, who was their maid, trapped in the broken-down elevator. She was taken to the hospital but no injuries were reported.
This incident raises multiple questions concerning elevator liability in New York. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our elevator accident lawyers handle elevator accident cases which result in serious injury or death to passengers, building employees, custodial staff, emergency safety workers and elevator maintenance and inspection personnel. We have the resources and experience necessary to secure fair compensation for individuals who have suffered an unnecessary injury.
Elevators are subject to certain provisions of the New York City building code concerning maintenance, inspections, and service. The above-incident presents a clear problem with the elevator in question. The relevant legal analysis would focus on responsibility. Assuming the building owners are not in the elevator maintenance business, the question becomes which company did they use to maintain, inspect and service their elevator. The trapped woman would likely be barred from any direct lawsuit against the building owners pursuant to New York Workers Compensation Laws as she worked directly for them. If they directly employed an elevator maintenance person, she would also be prevented from suing her co-worker by the Workers Compensation Laws of New York.
The more likely scenario is that the owners employed a Third-Party elevator company via a contractual relationship whose duty it was to maintain, inspect and service the subject elevator. An attorney investigating this matter needs to be familiar with the New York City elevator codes to determine if the elevator company complied with all applicable codes concerning inspection and maintenance. The New York City Department of Buildings would certainly inspect this elevator after the entrapment and issue a report as to why it occurred. A knowledgeable attorney familiar with New York elevator accident law would immediately request the findings of the New York City Buildings Department concerning this incident as those findings would identify the elevator company as well as the reasons for the entrapment, which would like be due a failure of some component in the elevator system.
Another initial consideration about the subject elevator deals with the preservation of the evidence. An experienced attorney would request immediate access to the elevator, if possible, to have their own expert examine the elevator, take pictures and independently verify the cause of the accident. Unfortunately, safety and timing issues often make this impossible, experienced elevator accident attorneys understand that this is an avenue to explore immediately upon being retained.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in an elevator accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with our New York personal injury attorneys, please call 212.406.1700 or contact us online. Our cases are taken on a contingency-fee basis. If we accept your case, there is no fee unless we recover damages for you.