Living in New York City most residents take elevators most every day, sometimes several times a day. Elevator accidents are rare, though unfortunately when they do happen, they can cause serious injury. Passengers are almost never at fault for an elevator accident and can often seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim.
Common Causes of Elevator Accidents
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, accidents involving elevators and escalators injure roughly 17,000 people each year and about 30 people are fatally injured. Elevators account for 90% of the fatalities and 60% of the serious injuries. People working on or near the elevator account for about half of elevator fatalities.
The causes of elevator accidents often are related to defective parts or elevators in disrepair. Causes can include:
Uneven leveling. When an elevator does not stop level with the floor, passengers can trip or fall, sometimes great distances. Mis-leveling is one of the most common causes of elevator accidents.
Defective doors. If an elevator door closes too quickly, a person can be crushed or trapped in between. This type of accident is often caused by defective elevator sensors.
High speed. If the elevator’s control panel and mechanics fail, this can cause the elevator to travel at unusually high rates of speed. Passengers inside the elevator can be injured if they are thrown to the ground or fall.
Falls into elevator shafts. These are some of the most dangerous conditions that cause an accident. Workers and unsuspecting passengers can fall into an open elevator shaft if proper safety precautions and warning signs aren’t in place.
Failure to maintain or repair. City, state and federal ordinances dictate how and when an elevator should be inspected and maintained for safe operation. Repairs should always be made by qualified elevator repair technicians.
Faulty wiring. Passengers can be injured by electric shock if faulty wiring causes the elevator to malfunction. OSHA recommends de-energizing and locking out electrical circuits and mechanical equipment when elevators and escalators are out of service or being repaired to prevent injuries to elevator workers.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a NYC Elevator Accident
The severity of an injury suffered in a NYC elevator accident can be extensive, including fractures, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, back injuries, and neck injuries. In these instances, emergency medical personnel are called and medical attention begins immediately. However, even serious injuries can be slow to present with symptoms, which allows them time to develop into something even more serious and more difficult to treat.
After you seek medical attention, gather as much evidence as possible. Witness contact information as well as any photographs of the accident and/or your injuries could serve you well if you decide to pursue a claim. Keep your medical records, bills, expenses and any other documentation related to your injury.
If you were working at the time of the accident, you should also report the accident to your employer. In some cases, you may be able to file a workers compensation claim if a personal injury claim isn’t possible.
Because elevator accidents can involve complex liability issues and severe injuries, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other losses.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, for Help
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we have a proven track record of success getting the compensation our clients deserve after being injured. With our commitment to client care and aggressive representation, we can turn your setback into a comeback.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer from our team, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.