New York Elevator Misleveling Accident Injury Lawyer
Turning to family and friends for comfort is natural after a traumatic event. Yet, if you were hurt in a New York elevator accident, you might need more help than your loved ones can provide.
At Hill & Moin, working with us is like having a lawyer in your family, so please feel free to approach our legal team. Our attorneys can answer your questions and take legal actions to secure your future.
If you were injured in an elevator mishap in New York, schedule your free consultation at (212) 668-6000. During your appointment, learn your Personal Injury Recovery Solutions® to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
How to Keep Elevators Working Properly?
Elevators lift people or things up and down on a platform or in a metal compartment. For instance, you might use the elevator instead of the stairs in an apartment building. Workers might lift materials into bins or silos using elevators at a factory.
These machines can make your life easier when they work as intended. Yet, they must be maintained to remain in safe working order.
Service technicians should perform routine inspections to assess potential danger. A checklist might include the following components.
Inside the elevator car
The door must open and close smoothly without obstruction. Walls, ceilings, and handrails should be undamaged. Lights, especially those in the control panel, should work.
Most elevators that transport people have an emergency telephone. Passengers should have a way to reach 911, the local fire department, or building maintenance staff.
Outside the elevator car
The door panels and lights should be in good condition. Fire alarm systems near the elevator must be tested regularly.
The cables on the top of the car and the brake mechanism must be sound. The emergency exit must be accessible at all times.
Machine room and pit
The machine room should be kept clean and free from any unrelated items. Inspectors should check for leaks, worn-out components, and unusual noises or vibrations. They should pay special attention to electrical parts, looking for evidence of overheating or failure.
Some components need to be cleaned or lubricated with oil. Technicians should have a set schedule to care for these vital tasks.
An elevator pit is a below-ground space consisting of steel equipment, buffers, and sometimes a pump system to remove water.
Loose items, dust, and debris from normal use can fall and gather in the elevator pit. Water might also accumulate in this area. The area must be kept clean and dry since water damage, corrosion, and trash can increase the risk of elevator malfunctions and passenger injury.
Maintenance staff should report defects or malfunctions and fix them as soon as possible. They should post signs and notices during inspection and maintenance tasks.
What Goes Wrong in Misleveling Accidents?
Misleveling refers to when an elevator stops below or above the appropriate position. When an elevator car stops between floors, the passengers and those entering or exiting it could get hurt.
Common elevator misleveling injuries include:
- Torn and bruised ligaments: Painful injuries that can take weeks or months to heal and might require surgery, physical therapy, and scar reconstruction
- Cuts: Sharp or broken parts, like those made of metal or glass, can cut passengers and cause bleeding and scarring
- Burns: Burn injuries can result from friction, cold, heat, radiation, chemicals, and exposure to electricity
- Broken bones: Testing like x-rays and radiographs might be necessary to detect broken bones and monitor the healing process
- Head trauma: Passengers might get their head caught or strike their head against the interior of an elevator or the ground during a fall, causing traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries: The pain associated with neck and back injuries is often chronic and pervasive, sometimes appearing in unexpected parts of the body
Your medical bills might be only one of your expenses during your recovery. Many elevator accident victims must take time off work to recuperate and attend doctor’s appointments.
Some injuries cause permanent disabilities, which can affect your ability to maintain the same standard of living. To add to the burden, you might have to make costly renovations to your home for wheelchair access.
Survivors might also face psychological issues due to a misleveling accident. For example, being trapped in a stalled elevator could lead to claustrophobia, anxiety, and panic attacks. Some people continue to suffer for weeks or even years after the incident.
Besides passengers, employees are at risk. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the industries most affected by elevator-related accidents are:
- Administrative support
- Waste management
Workers could be hurt while:
- Conducting emergency evacuations
- Performing construction work near open shafts
Some elevator accidents are deadly. Between 2011 and 2016, 145 construction workers died of elevator-related injuries. One-third of these incidents occurred while the victim assembled or dismantled an elevator.
According to the National Safety Council, falls are among the top 3 causes of preventable death. The CPWR Update concludes, “many of these deaths could have been prevented if adequate protection and safe work practices had been in place.”
Employers Should Take Responsibility
In New York, almost all employers carry workers’ compensation policies. This insurance pays for medical expenses and provides financial benefits for workers injured on the job. The amount received by a claimant is not based on fault.
Yet, missed deadlines or inaccurate information could delay your payments or invalidate your claim. Your employer or his or her insurers may disagree with the severity of your injury or its relation to your work.
The Workers’ Compensation Board could also take issue with your claim if your injuries resulted from:
- Drug or alcohol intoxication
- Your intent to hurt someone else
If your claim is rejected for any reason, you have the right to legal representation. A workers’ compensation attorney can investigate your claim, correct errors, and search for new evidence. Then, he or she can appeal your case in a hearing.
Holding Building Owners Liable
What if your injury occurred in an apartment building or at a business? If the accident resulted from foreseeable causes, the property owner could be liable for your losses.
Having an elevator comes along with specific duties. All New York elevators must meet construction codes. For instance, elevators must pass inspections twice every year in New York City.
Property owners must have a current contract with an approved elevator maintenance agency.
Also, public building owners must hire an approved inspection agency to perform category testing, such as:
- Category 1: No load safety test performed between January 1st and December 31st every year
- Category 3: Water hydraulic elevators performance test every 3 years from the date of installation
- Category 5: Rated load and speed tests every 5 years from the date of installation
If the elevator doesn’t pass a test, property owners have a set amount of time to make repairs. Yet before beginning any elevator work, they must acquire a permit.
During maintenance, owners should notify residents that the elevator will be out of service. For significant projects, posted notices should inform residents 10 days before work starts.
Failure to make necessary repairs is negligent. A department inspector or private inspection agency can issue violations to irresponsible property owners. Owners can face criminal charges and a premises liability lawsuit if someone is hurt because of a known defect.
Our clients appreciate the help of the Hill & Moin legal team in pursuing compensation for preventable elevator accidents. When you tell us your story, we can provide Personal Injury Recovery Solutions® for you and your loved ones.
When Designers and Manufacturers Are At Fault?
What if designers or manufacturers produced a defective elevator? Strict product liability laws require them to take responsibility if the product injures someone.
Sometimes, the problem is with the packaging or instructions. Elevators require extensive care. Marketers and retailers should inform the consumer how to install, use, and take care of their machines.
In other cases, manufacturers breach their warranty. An elevator and its moving parts should be sufficient to last a reasonable amount of time under ordinary circumstances.
Faulty elevators have been known to:
- Drop unexpectedly
- Get caught between floors (mislevel)
- Catch fire
- Pose electrocution risk
- Fail to open or close doors
- Catch clothing or bags
How do you know who is liable for your accident? You could potentially file a claim against:
- Property owners
- Elevator maintenance or inspection companies
- Elevator design or manufacturing companies
- Elevator installers
Determining fault is a complex task. You don’t have to do it alone. Hiring an attorney can ensure that you pursue compensation from the liable party, thus saving you time, money, and frustration.
Hill & Moin LLP Pursues Extraordinary Results
Dealing with injuries and missed work is stressful. Yet, when insurers intensify the pressure with endless tactics to avoid paying what your claim is worth, you might fear your life will never be the same.
We know you must be ready for relief if you feel this way. Our law firm is recognized among New York’s Super Lawyers because we offer real solutions for legal issues.
We don’t want anything to keep you from getting the help you need. Visit our friendly New York City office in person or call (212) 668-6000 anytime to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, so please don’t hesitate. Contact us to learn what Personal Injury Recovery SolutionsⓇ our experienced New York elevator accident attorneys can offer you today.
Don’t wonder about your rights!