Elevators at apartment buildings, commercial properties, or construction sites (whether for new building construction or for remodeling and additions) are subject to New York City building codes and industrial standards. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they always comply with safety laws.
If you or a family member was injured or killed in an elevator accident in New York City, you have rights. At Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, we can’t undo the harm that has been done to you, but we can get you the answers and compensation you need to move forward with your life.
We pledge to initiate a thorough investigation to uncover the ultimate cause of the accident and then pursue full compensation from all responsible parties. We will make sure the insurance company, judge, and jury see you for who you are and understand the impact your accident has had on your life.
When hoists (temporary elevators used for construction purposes) are installed, they should be properly tied to a building’s structure. Electrical functions should be built to code, inspected, and properly maintained.
People responsible for installing these types of elevators, as well as people who supervise their use, should take precautions for the sake of worker safety, including:
When an elevator malfunctions, an individual riding that elevator may be thrown to the ground or trapped in an elevator cage. In either circumstance, catastrophic injuries and fatalities are common. These types of accidents are nearly always a result of negligence. Without warning, machine malfunction or related problems can cause serious harm.
Elevators Malfunctions Include:
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Around this time last year, elevator accidents made headlines when a 67-year-old blind man plunged 25 feet down an elevator shaft to his death in his Bronx apartment building. The doors to the elevator he was waiting for an opening, but no elevator car was waiting when he stepped inside.
The accident was investigated and it was later determined to be the fault of building management and the company that services the elevators in the building.
“When cases like these end up in court,” Howard Raphaelson, a top New York elevator accident lawyer explained, “the issue for the claimant and his or her legal team — as is the case with most every negligence lawsuit — is proving that the injury to the plaintiff as a result of negligence on the part of the people responsible for the care and upkeep of the elevator.”
“In making a determination,” Raphaelson added, “the court may invoke a doctrine known by its Latin name, ‘Res ipsa loquitor,’ or, the act speaks for itself. On the face of it, in this instance, an elderly, blind resident of the building for many years, who no doubt has ridden in the elevator hundreds of times before, awaits the arrival of the car, hears the bell ring and the doors open, and in almost Pavlovian fashion moves forward expecting to step into the car. Instead, he falls down the elevator shaft and is killed. The act speaks for itself.”
Raphaelson said that when elevators malfunction, it’s elderly and disabled tenants who suffer the most. But current city codes make no exceptions for disabled tenants. The building codes that cover maintenance of elevators are the same for the elderly and infirm as they are for any other tenant. Also, some codes are more or fewer on construction site elevator accidents.
“However, cases do arise,” Raphaelson said, “where the courts hold a tenant responsible for his or her own injury if, say, the tenant tampered with the safe operation of the elevator, or tried to pry open a jammed door. I strongly advise tenants against doing this sort of thing.”
Raphaelson recommends that tenants of New York apartment buildings report defective elevators, or other unsafe conditions in their buildings, to The New York City Housing Authority.
We have recovered significant compensation for the injuries, future economic loss, and other damages suffered by our clients with defective products. We work closely with accident victims’ family members to develop compelling arguments for damages after fatalities due to negligence.
Please call 212-268-3222 to schedule a free consultation. You will not owe attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation for you after a construction elevator accident or other elevator injury.
Located in Midtown-Manhattan (across from Penn Station), we represent injured individuals in all five boroughs of New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, NY.