The Law Offices of Richard C. Bell
Category:Elevator Injury

6 Causes of Elevator Injuries in New York

6 Causes of Elevator Injuries in New York

Elevators. Most of us use them every single day. Maybe in your office building. Or your apartment complex. Or even while out running errands.

The point is, they’re a part of the daily routine. You probably don’t think about the potential danger inherent in getting into an elevator any more than you think about the “dangers” of taking a shower.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few more things that can go wrong when you’re riding an elevator up or down than when you’re under a shower head. They don’t happen often, but when accidents do occur, the injuries that people sustain tend to be quite severe. Broken bones. Head trauma. Severed limbs. Even death.

What causes these types of injuries?

Elevator Accidents That Can Lead to Serious Injuries

There are a number of things that can cause an elevator injury in New York.

Rapid drops. There are several mechanical issues that can cause an elevator to drop rapidly in the elevator shaft. One of the most common is a pulley system malfunction.

Most likely, the cables that hold your elevator in place in the shaft and allow it to travel up and down will not simply break. Even if they do, there are multiple cables and every single one is designed to hold the entire weight of the car.

Far more worrisome is that a malfunction will occur with the pulley system itself. If this happens, the car can plunge multiple stories at shockingly fast speeds, potentially tossing passengers around the elevator.

Faulty wiring. Elevators are electric. In large part, it is these electrical systems that make them so safe… most of the time. However, if there is faulty wiring present it can cause the controls to malfunction and in some cases people have even been electrocuted.

Poor alignment. Have you ever stepped into an elevator and stumbled, surprised that it was a few inches lower than the floor you were on? This type of issue is called unbalanced leveling, and it can cause truly serious injuries when the alignment is off significantly and people are not paying attention.

Falls due to unbalanced leveling have caused things like fractures, head injuries, and more. Be wary.

Queens Elevator Accident Lawyer

Open shaft. Elevator doors are not supposed to open unless the elevator has arrived at a landing, but sometimes mistakes happen. Maybe workers were fixing an issue that required them to manually open the doors and they neglected to close them or put up a warning sign. Perhaps the malfunction in question is causing the doors to open at random.

Whatever the reason, an open elevator shaft is an accident waiting to happen. Worse, if someone falls down a shaft, you most likely won’t be dealing with an injury, but death.

Door malfunctions. Doors on modern elevators are designed with safety in mind and will not close if someone is standing too close. Unless, of course, there is a problem with the sensors in the doors. Having an elevator door close on you can lead to serious injury, including having body parts crushed by the weight of the door.

Maintenance error. In some way, shape, or form, pretty much all elevator accidents are caused either by maintenance error or defective parts. There are, however, very specific ways that maintenance workers can make accidents more likely to happen.

One of the worst is simply neglecting to turn safety features back on after they finish doing any maintenance and repair work that is needed. Several years ago, this happened right here in New York and a man was crushed getting into an elevator because it started to move as he was entering.

Apparently, the workers had shut off a safety feature that prevented the elevator from moving until the doors were closed. Because of this, it could start moving while the man was in the process of getting in.

What Should You Do in the Event of an Elevator Injury?

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you seek medical help so that you get any injuries taken care of promptly. Also, seeking necessary medical attention creates a record of what happened to you.

This is very important for the next step – getting in touch with a knowledgeable injury lawyer who can work with you to make sure that you hold the responsible parties accountable and get the fair and just compensation that you deserve for the suffering that you had to endure.

A skilled New York injury attorney will be able to look at the facts of your situation and help you put together a strong case arguing that the incident was caused by negligence.


Going Up?

What Queens Residents Should

Know About Elevator Tragedies

Injury Attorney Queens

From Jamaica to Elmhurst to Flushing to Springfield Gardens, for Queens, New York residents riding elevators is a daily occurrence. According to government sources, the NYC Department  of Buildings in is in charge of overseeing and inspecting more than 58,000 elevators citywide. Elevator safety and awareness has played an important role in New York because no matter who you are and where you’re headed, chances are you’ll need a lift on an elevator eventually.

Tragic and often fatal elevator injuries are entirely too common to be ignored. The 2011 case of 41 year old Suzanne Hart, an advertising director who was fatally crushed between an elevator and a shaft wall, has done a lot to raise awareness but elevator accidents still pose a threat to New York City’s approximately 8.5 million residents and its daily throng of workers and tourists. If you are one of the many who has sustained an injury on an elevator in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island a qualified injury attorney (who also maintains a Manhattan office) could help you to obtain the maximum compensation for your pain and  suffering, lost wages and permanent disability.

The Case of Suzanne Hart

According to, approximately 27 fatalities and 10,000 injuries occur annually in elevator accidents. Suzanne Hart was one of the 27 whose life was lost in an elevator tragedy. The incident took place in Manhattan on Madison Avenue in December of 2011. According to the New York Times, The 41 year old Brooklyn resident was wedged between the shaft wall and the enclosure. The elevator reportedly rose unexpectedly with the advertising executive caught between the doors. The elevator was allegedly inspected in June of that same year, raising the issue as to whether the elevator inspection was flawed.

Elevator Maintenance in Queens and the Other Boroughs of New York City

New York City is the most populated city in the entire nation. As such, architects have the tendency to build upward as a way of saving space. Skyscrapers and towers are a way of life in New York City and taking the stairs is not often an option. The average New York City elevator travels from floor to floor approximately 500 times in a single day and with 58,000 plus elevators running simultaneously, the average number of daily elevator rides in New York City is 29 million per day. Elevators should be properly inspected, but even when such measures are taken the general public still runs the risk of being victimized due to a malfunction caused by negligence of the building owner, property manager or elevator maintenance company.

The Complexity of Elevator Cases

Determining blameworthy parties in elevator tragedies requires a thorough investigation of everyone involved. A knowledgeable elevator injury attorney has the experience and legal knowledge that is necessary when sorting through these complicated details. If you have been injured in an elevator accident or if one of your loved one was injured or killed, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. If you suspect that one of the elevators you frequent is problematic, it is best to contact the NYC Department of Buildings and request an immediate inspection even if an inspection has been performed recently.

For further information about elevator accident cases in any of the five boroughs of New York City, please call me toll free at (877) CALL-LAW® (225-5529) or (212) 714-0988 for a free consultation.

* Prior results cannot and do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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