New York Elevator Shaft Fall Accident Lawyer
Elevator use can be daily for millions of New Yorkers. In fact, New York City alone has more than 84,000 elevator devices in operation. That is more elevators than any other city in North America. Passenger elevators in New York City make over 35 million passenger trips per day.
Despite being common, elevators can be a serious danger to passengers. In New York, there were more than 44,000 elevator outages in a single year. That is about 121 breakdowns every day, on average. Breakdowns and malfunctions can leave elevator shafts open, which poses a serious hazard.
The CDC reports that elevator and escalator incidents kill about 30 and seriously injure about 17,000 people in the nation each year. Of these, elevators cause about 60 percent of serious injuries and 90 percent of fatalities.
Besides normal daily use, falls are also the leading cause of death in construction. Those who work on or around elevators are especially at risk.
Elevator shaft falls can often result in serious injuries that can be devastating to families. After an accident, families may struggle with medical bills.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not want to treat you fairly. Less compensation for you means more profit for them.
Do not leave your compensation to chance. At a time like this, you do not just need a lawyer. You need a lawyer you can trust like family to help you secure your future.
Working with Hill & Moin LLP is like having a lawyer in your family. Call us today for a free consultation at (212) 668-6000.
Causes of Elevator Shaft Falls
With heavy regular use, these complex machines require regular maintenance and inspection. All elevators and escalators must be properly installed and well looked after.
Building owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that elevators meet safety standards. These are defined by various city and state requirements regarding the maintenance and operation of elevators.
For example, New York City requires that elevator mechanics, inspectors, and contractors be properly licensed. Licensing ensures both adequate skills and training to carry out a job. New York requires elevator workers to have years of experience to obtain a license through a written test on national, state, and local codes.
Elevator injuries are often preventable with proper precautions. This is especially true when they are undergoing routine maintenance or under construction. When injuries do occur, perhaps proper safety precautions were not followed by those who are responsible.
For example, accidents can occur during:
- Elevator repair or construction: When elevators are under construction or undergoing repairs, it may be necessary to leave a shaft open. This poses a risk for those working in the shaft.
- Work near elevator shafts: Elevator doors can be open during maintenance when the elevator is not present. Early in building construction elevator shafts will be open. This creates a hazard as workers can fall into the opening.
- Stuck elevator: When elevators are stuck between floors, passengers may try to escape. Rather, always remain in a stuck elevator until it is safe to exit.
There are other factors that can also contribute to accidents. These can include:
- Lack of posted warnings: Hazards during repair or construction need to be clearly marked. Any open elevator shaft should have clearly posted warnings.
- Lack of awareness: Passengers do not expect to encounter an open elevator shaft, and workers may not be familiar with a jobsite in progress. Anyone could be distracted or focused on another task when they encounter a hazard.
- Unprotected openings: In many cases, guardrails or other barriers should be in place. If these are not installed properly, injury can result.
- Insufficient security: Access to elevator systems in occupied buildings should be properly secured. Failure to secure elevator shaft access can result in unauthorized access and, possibly, injury.
- Malfunctioning equipment: Equipment malfunctions can cause doors to open when an elevator is not present.
- Lack of safety equipment: Workers may not receive all required safety equipment.
- Insufficient training on fall protection systems: Untrained workers may make an error when using fall protection systems.
- Lack of site safety coordination: Coordination is needed between different trades, subcontractors, and others on a construction site. A lack of communication or coordination can result in injury.
A wide range of factors could have contributed to your accident. Thus, you need to work with a lawyer you can trust to help you navigate these complex legal factors.
Types of Injuries
Sometimes elevator malfunctions simply result in inconvenience or delays. At other times, they can create serious hazards.
Elevator shafts tend to be long and narrow. Falls can result in serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
After an injury, you have limited time to file a claim. While filing a claim is urgent, it is also important to speak to a lawyer before taking the first steps. If you file a claim without the help of a lawyer, you can miss key information that can adversely affect your claim.
Our firm can give you the confidence to pursue your legal remedies for compensation. At Hill & Moin LLP, we are passionate about getting the best possible result for our clients. If you have been injured in an elevator shaft fall, call us today at (212) 668-6000.
What to Do After an Elevator Shaft Fall?
If you have a phone and are able, call 911. You want to leave the elevator shaft as soon as you are able to do so safely.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after your injury. A doctor can ensure that you get the immediate treatment you need and start you on the road to recovery.
Gather evidence, if possible, as well. Take photographs of your injuries and the location where they were inflicted. Try to obtain contact information from witnesses. Keep a record of your medical expenses and any other documentation of your condition.
If the fall occurred while you were working, you must notify your employer as soon as possible after an accident. You may also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This may be true regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Notifying your employer can help begin the process of obtaining workers’ compensation.
Who is Responsible?
If you were involved in an elevator shaft fall, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation from any and all liable parties involved. It all depends on the specifics of your case.
Those who could be found financially responsible include, but are not limited to, the following parties:
- Property owners
- Property management companies
- Homeowners’ associations
- Retail stores
- Elevator maintenance companies
- Elevator manufacturers
It is important to determine who is at fault for an injury. This is because in some cases, elevator accident injuries can be catastrophic and have life-changing implications for those injured. Was the accident a result of faulty maintenance? Are you entitled to financial compensation? Elevator accidents can involve complex liability issues.
Under New York state law, anyone who contributes to an elevator accident can be responsible for resulting damages. It is possible that multiple parties are responsible for the accident. It can be beneficial to victims to investigate and seek damages from all responsible parties.
Reasons that companies can be liable include:
- Faulty repairs
- Failure to have proper safety precautions in place
- Failure to perform routine maintenance
- Failure to maintain proper records
New York has complex laws and requirements for the construction and maintenance of elevators. These are also subject to periodic changes. For example, new changes came into effect on January 1, 2022. These affect the requirements for safely inspecting and maintaining elevator systems.
In some cases, property owners may try to blame the victim for the accident. They may try to avoid liability and can prevent you from receiving compensation. An experienced legal team, though, can guide you through the process and protect your rights.
What Damages Are Available After an Elevator Shaft Fall?
When you are hurt due to an elevator shaft fall, you may have the right to receive financial compensation. This may include the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Other expenses
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with. In some cases, they will fight you every step of the way. It is hard to know what compensation you are entitled to receive. You do not want to let the insurer arbitrarily decide what benefits you receive.
Elevator injuries can leave you with serious questions about your future. At times like this, you need more than a lawyer on your side – you need a lawyer you can trust.
Working with Hill & Moin LLP is like having a lawyer in your family, so you can feel comfortable with us.
Do not leave your future to chance. You need the help of our experienced legal team. Schedule a free consultation with Hill & Moin LLP to learn your Personal Injury Recovery SolutionsⓇ. Call today at (212) 668-6000.
Don’t wonder about your rights!