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Elevator Accidents

New York City Elevator Accident Lawyers

Fighting for Elevator Accident Victims in New York City

You likely take elevators all the time, whether you are headed to your office or returning to your apartment, and you probably do not think twice about how safe they are.

Unfortunately, elevator accidents resulting from faulty wiring or inadequate maintenance occur more often than you think.

Injuries linked to these incidents can range from minor falls and scrapes to much more severe harm, such as broken bones or even death.

If you recently suffered injuries in an elevator accident in NY, Sutton & Smyth, LLP can help.

Our experienced elevator accident attorneys in NY can help you understand your legal options and take the steps necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.

You should not have to worry about medical expenses, lost income, and other consequences if the incident was not your fault.

Our accident lawyers are skilled at investigating these accidents, holding responsible parties accountable, and pursuing claims for our client’s injuries.

No matter the complexity of your personal injury case, our personal injury lawyers are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect your interests and deliver the best possible outcome. 

Contact Our NY Personal Injury Lawyers Online or Call (866) 935-1862 to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today.

How Do Elevator Accidents Happen?

An elevator accident refers to an unexpected and often dangerous incident involving an elevator, a vertical transportation device used for moving people or goods between different floors or levels within a building. These accidents can lead to injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

Common causes of elevator accidents include:

  • Mechanical Failures:
    • Cable or Rope Malfunction: Elevator cables can snap or become damaged, leading to sudden drops or uneven movement.
    • Brake Failure: The elevator's braking system may fail to engage, causing it to move uncontrollably.
    • Door Issues: Malfunctioning or misaligned doors can lead to passengers getting trapped or injured.
    • Faulty Controls: Problems with the control system can result in erratic movement or getting stuck between floors.
  • Electrical Failures:
    • Power Outages: Sudden power failures can leave elevators stranded between floors, requiring rescue operations.
    • Electrical Short Circuits: Faulty wiring or electrical components can cause fires or other electrical hazards.
  • Poor Maintenance:
    • Inadequate Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance and inspections can lead to the gradual deterioration of elevator components.
    • Improper Repairs: Incorrect or substandard repairs can introduce new safety risks.
  • Overloading:
    • Exceeding Weight Limits: Elevators have weight limits that, if exceeded, can strain the elevator's components and lead to accidents.
  • User Error:
    • Misleveling: Passengers not stepping properly when entering or exiting the elevator can result in misleveling accidents.
    • Door Interference: Passengers attempting to stop closing doors with their hands or objects can cause door-related accidents.
  • Sabotage or Vandalism:
    • Deliberate Damage: Acts of vandalism or tampering with elevator controls can lead to accidents.
  • Natural Disasters:
    • Earthquakes: Seismic activity can cause elevators to malfunction or become trapped.
    • Flooding: Water damage from floods can disrupt electrical systems and cause elevator failures.
  • Manufacturing Defects:
    • Flaws in Design or Manufacturing: Defects in the construction or design of elevator components can lead to accidents.
  • Age and Wear:
    • Aging Components: As elevators get older, their components may wear out, increasing the risk of malfunctions.
  • Human Error:
    • Technician Mistakes: Errors made during installation, maintenance, or repair can compromise elevator safety.

Who is Liable for an Elevator Accident?

Liability in an elevator accident can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the incident, including the cause of the accident, the parties involved, and the relevant laws and regulations. 

Here are some potential parties who may be held liable in an elevator accident:

  • Property Owner or Manager: The owner or manager of the building where the elevator is located can be held liable if the accident was a result of their failure to maintain the elevator properly, perform required inspections, or address known safety issues. They have a duty to ensure the safety of the elevator for users.
  • Elevator Manufacturer or Maintenance Company: If the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect or improper maintenance, the elevator manufacturer or the company responsible for maintenance and repairs may be held liable. This includes issues such as faulty components, inadequate maintenance, or negligent repairs.
  • Elevator Technician or Service Personnel: Individuals or companies responsible for installing, inspecting, or repairing elevators can be held liable if their actions or omissions directly contributed to the accident. Negligent work, improper installation, or failure to identify and address safety concerns can be grounds for liability.
  • Elevator Designers and Engineers: If the elevator's design or engineering was flawed and contributed to the accident, the designers and engineers involved in its creation could be held liable.
  • Elevator Manufacturer's Liability (Product Liability): In cases where a manufacturing defect is a primary cause of the accident, the elevator manufacturer may face product liability claims. This means they can be held responsible for injuries or damages caused by a defective product.
  • Contractors or Construction Companies: In cases where elevator accidents occur during construction or renovation work, the contractor or construction company responsible for the project may be held liable for inadequate safety measures or negligence that led to the accident.
  • Government Entities: In some cases, government agencies responsible for inspecting and regulating elevators may be held liable if they failed to conduct proper inspections, enforce safety regulations, or address known issues.
  • Elevator Users: In rare cases, elevator passengers may also share some liability if their actions or misuse directly contributed to the accident. For example, trying to force open elevator doors or jumping inside the cab can lead to accidents.

Determining liability in an elevator accident often requires a thorough investigation by experts to establish the cause and responsible parties. Liability may be shared among multiple parties, and it is imperative to consult with legal professionals who specialize in premises liability or personal injury cases to understand and pursue a potential claim.

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What to Do After an Elevator Accident in New York City

If you have been involved in an elevator accident in New York, you may have suffered severe and permanent injuries.

Building owners and their insurance companies know many tricks and loopholes to stop you from getting the compensation you need to cover your losses. 

To protect your right to compensation, make every effort to follow these necessary steps after an elevator accident:

  • Call 911. Explain the situation and request an ambulance if you (or anyone else) immediately need to go to the hospital. If you are stuck in the elevator, request help from the fire department.
  • Gather evidence. Document as much as possible before you leave the scene. Take photos and videos of your elevator injuries, any apparent damage to the elevator, the elevator's interior, the entry portal to the elevator, and any other relevant items. Be sure to note the specific elevator that caused the accident if multiple elevators are in the bay.
  • Report the accident to the building manager. Find whoever is currently in charge – most buildings will have an on-site/on-duty manager – and inform them of the accident in the elevator. Request that a written accident report be created and obtain a copy. If the elevator (or its adjacent bays) had security cameras, ask for a copy of the relevant footage.
  • Gather contact information. You will need the property owner's name, address, and phone number. You should also get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone on the elevator with you or anyone else who saw what happened immediately before or after the accident. Their testimony could be important later, and you will need a way to get in touch. 
  • Seek medical attention. Even if you do not require an ambulance, go to the emergency room immediately after you leave the scene. Explain what happened and highlight your known injuries to the doctor who sees you. Remember that some personal injuries may not be initially apparent, so you should still see a medical professional even if you feel like you are "fine" after an elevator accident.
  • Reach out to Sutton & Smyth, LLP. The sooner you get in touch with our legal professionals, the better. Our lawyers are ready to work on investigating your case and seeking the money you need for your personal injuries.

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How Long Do I Have to File an Elevator Accident Lawsuit in New York City?

Elevator accidents in New York City fall under premises liability law, which holds property owners accountable for personal injuries caused by unsafe premises.

In New York, the statute of limitations for premises liability claims is three years, meaning you have three years from the date of an elevator accident to file a lawsuit.

If someone you love suffered fatal injuries in an elevator accident, immediate family members or the representative of the victim’s estate have two years from the date they passed away to bring a wrongful death claim

You may have a long time in either scenario, but getting legal advice as soon as possible is in your best interest. You may have less time under certain circumstances, including if a government entity is a defendant in your personal injury case.

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