Elevator Accidents

Millions of New Yorkers ride elevators every day. They are essential for the transport of people and cargo in a city of high-rise buildings. Elevators can malfunction and cause injury or death.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimate that there are about 30 deaths in elevator accidents each year in the United States.

New York property owners are legally responsible for properly maintaining buildings and ensuring the safety of elevators on the premises. If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident, reach out to an experienced elevator accident attorney at Hecht, Kleeger, & Damashek P.C. today.

Causes of Elevator Accidents

Elevator accidents can happen due to a lot of underlying causes. They typically involve preventable errors such as:

  • Elevator door malfunctions
  • Carriage misalignment with floors
  • Wiring defects
  • Broken or snapped pulleys
  • Improper maintenance procedures
  • Unsafe speeds
  • Abrupt stops
  • Misleveling
  • Unexpected door closings or openings
  • Falls due to open shaft
  • Exposure to the outdoors during winter, causing damage if water on trolleys or car frames freezes

The results of a malfunctioning or improperly maintained elevator can be devastating.

Common Elevator Accident Injuries

Elevator accidents can result in severe harm, including:

Unfortunately, some elevator accident injuries can be fatal.

Elevator Accident Fatalities

There are many cases of New York elevator accidents that have claimed the lives of innocent victims. In 2019, a Manhattan man was crushed to death after an elevator in his apartment malfunctioned. A mechanic on the Upper West Side suffered a similar fate in 2015 when he was repairing an elevator.

There was another incident at a construction site when a 25-year-old man fell down an elevator shaft while working on the 24th floor of a luxury hotel near Times Square.

If you have lost a loved one due to an elevator accident, you are not without legal recourse. You may be entitled to compensation for your grief and other damages.

Call our compassionate NYC wrongful death attorneys today to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim in New York.

What to Do After an Elevator Accident

If you or a loved one is a victim of an elevator accident here’s what you need to do to achieve compensation:

  1. Get out of the elevator immediately. If you’re unable to move, call for help.
  2. Seek medical attention. Even if you are feeling okay, some injuries may appear later. Ask your doctor for a full report.
  3. Gather information. If there are witnesses or other victims, get their contact information.
  4. If possible, document the scene. Take pictures of the elevator and where the accident occurred. The more details you get, the greater the chance that you’ll be compensated.
  5. Contact a lawyer. An experienced and knowledgeable elevator accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and pursue a claim to maximize your potential compensation.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you have been injured in an elevator accident, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by the property owner’s negligence. An attorney may discover that a third-party or multiple parties can be held liable.

A lawyer from Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. can review the specifics of your accident, and determine whether someone else was at fault for your injuries. If so, we can help you pursue compensation that you are due to cover medical bills and other injury-related losses.

Call a NYC premises liability lawyer from our firm at (212) 490-5700, or reach out online to schedule a consultation of your case.

New York City Elevator Laws

Regardless of their type or use, New York City code requires that all elevators in the city be properly installed and maintained. Other municipalities throughout the state have similar codes and ordinances.

The NYC Department of Buildings’ Elevator Division inspects elevators in accordance with the city’s building code and American Society of Mechanical Engineers elevator standards. Elevators must pass installation inspections as well as periodic inspections by the Department of Buildings to be legally operated.



Construction Workers Injured on an Exterior Scaffold

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Have You Been Injured in an Elevator Accident?

Neglected maintenance, incomplete or poorly performed repairs, or inspections by unqualified personnel can lead to an elevator malfunction.

The Consumer Watch website says among passengers using elevators while not at work, such as in apartment buildings and stores, almost half of deaths reported 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.

You May be Due Compensation for an Elevator Accident

The owner of a building with elevators is responsible for maintaining all elevators on the property and paying all inspection fees. Neglecting elevator maintenance may lead to fines. If the failure to properly install and maintain elevators causes an accident that injures someone, the building owner may be held liable and compelled to compensate the injured person. In some cases, the elevator manufacturer or the company that installed it may be liable as well.

Elevator accidents can cause injuries that result in permanent disabilities that make the accident victim unable to work for a living. Compensation sought in a legal claim after such personal injuries may consist of money for:

  • Medical care, including hospitalization
  • Lost wages
  • Home care
  • Rehabilitation therapy

Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. can help by thoroughly investigating your accident to document your injuries and determine whether the building owner or other parties should be held liable for the harm you have suffered. With the evidence collected, we will diligently seek all benefits you are due for your medical costs and other injury-related expenses.

Evidence in an Elevator Accident Case

Records will indicate whether the elevator has been inspected on a regular basis as required by law. Footage from the elevator’s security camera may have recorded your accident. In addition to your statement and testimony by any witnesses to your accident, there may be other complaints on file by others who frequent the apartment building, office tower, shopping mall, or hotel where your accident occurred. Others may be able to testify to similar malfunctions or accidents, and indicate that the building’s management knew of the problem.

Filing a Claim

Our law firm will be by your side throughout the claim process, helping you obtain sufficient medical documentation of your injuries and the ongoing effect it has had on your life. New York City personal injury attorneys from our firm will advise you of the potential outcomes of your claim and the pertinent premises liability and personal injury law.

New York Statute of Limitations

Personal injury lawsuits can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to begin the work necessary to pursue a legal claim as soon as you are able. New York’s statute of limitations requires personal injury victims to file claims within three years of the date of the accident or from the date that the injuries became evident. It is best to begin work in a timely manner to ensure your claim is not denied due to the statute of limitations.

Contact Our New York Elevator Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a malfunctioning or otherwise unsafe elevator in New York, contact Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. for a free discussion of your accident and the legal options available to you. The owner of the building where your accident occurred or others may be required to compensate you for medical bills and other expenses related to your accident.

Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. is a personal injury firm that provides seasoned legal help to victims of elevator accidents in New York City and elsewhere in New York State. We work hard to ensure our clients secure the financial benefits necessary to fully recover financially from their injuries. Contact us today at (212) 490-5700.


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