NYC Elevator Accident Lawyers
Elevator Accident Lawyers In New York City
The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) oversees more than 84,000 elevator devices, with 63,000 of them being passenger elevators. Each day, these elevators transport approximately 35 million passengers. Fortunately, New York has implemented numerous local laws to regulate the installation, inspection, and maintenance of these elevators. However, when elevator maintenance companies, building owners, general contractors, and other responsible parties fail to comply with these laws and safety standards, serious accidents can occur. If you have been injured while working on or riding in an elevator, we strongly encourage you to promptly explore your legal options by contacting our NYC elevator accident lawyers in Rosenberg & Rodriguez today.
Representing A Wide Range Of Elevator Accidents
Each year, around 30 lives are lost and 17,000 individuals suffer serious injuries in elevator accidents across the United States. In New York alone, more than 20 fatalities have occurred since 2010. Considering the city boasts the largest number of elevator devices in North America, it becomes paramount to ensure their proper maintenance and servicing for the safety of passengers. In the unfortunate event of an accident, it is crucial for victims to be aware of the available options. As a leading personal injury law firm in New York, Rosenberg & Rodriguez specializes in handling a wide range of elevator accident cases. These cases may encompass situations such as:
- Sudden acceleration or deceleration
- Misleveling, or the elevator failing to line up with the building floor
- Becoming caught in the elevator door
- Injuries caused by manually operated hoists on construction sites
- Falling down an open elevator shaft
- Being trapped in the main elevator compartment
- Being crushed between the elevator wall and the car
- Defective governors
- Improper maintenance of the hoist cable
- Bypassing the interlock circuit
- Safety device failures
- Wet floors, causing slip and fall accidents
- Manufacturing defects
Elevator accidents in New York can cause severe injuries, ranging from spinal fractures and herniated discs to concussions, brain damage, broken bones, and even fatalities. Injured individuals require legal representation from an elevator accident attorney who possesses comprehensive knowledge of the applicable laws, understands the rights of elevator workers and passengers, and possesses the necessary resources to maximize financial recovery. Regrettably, cases involving elevator accidents often face vigorous defense.
Consequences Following An Elevator Accident
Securing the services of a qualified NYC elevator accident lawyer promptly after an elevator accident is of utmost importance. Often, when an elevator accident occurs, representatives from the building owner’s insurance company are already present at the scene alongside investigators from the New York City Buildings Department (DOB) and/or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). These insurance companies dispatch accident investigators, elevator experts, and legal professionals to the accident site, even while the injured party is still in the hospital. While the injured individual should rightly focus on their recovery, it is crucial that they also take steps to protect their legal rights by promptly engaging the services of an attorney.
When Rosenberg & Rodriguez is retained for an elevator accident case, our first course of action is to contact the responsible parties and advise them to preserve the accident scene. This allows our elevator expert to thoroughly inspect the elevator and its components before any repairs or removals take place. In cases involving fatalities, the FDNY often preserves the elevator until the Buildings Department can conduct its own inspection. It is imperative that the attorneys and experts representing the injured party are present during this inspection and ensure that all faulty elevator components are preserved. Time is not on the side of an individual injured in an elevator accident.
Engaging an NYC elevator accident lawyer as soon as possible after an incident is crucial. There are multiple potentially liable parties in an elevator accident case, including the building owner, the property management company, the elevator maintenance company, and any contractors who may have performed work on or near the elevator or its shaft. Sometimes, construction debris from unrelated work can fall into an elevator shaft, causing damage to the elevator’s components and leading to failure.
Elevator Accidents In Construction Work
Construction workers face significant risks when it comes to elevator accidents. The number of elevator-related deaths among construction workers has doubled from 2003 to 2016, peaking at 37 deaths in 2015. Falls account for more than 50 percent of these fatalities, making it the leading cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry. Additionally, workers are exposed to severe injuries from elevator accidents such as being caught in, crushed by, struck by, and even electrocutions. These incidents primarily affect workers involved in the construction and dismantling of elevator systems, followed by those who handle repairs and maintenance.
It is worth noting that a majority of elevator-related deaths involve workers under the age of 35. This raises concerns about the adequacy of training provided to young workers before assigning them to work on elevator systems. Construction companies have a responsibility to ensure that all workers involved in elevator projects receive proper training and safety precautions, including personal fall arrest systems. In cases where workers are not provided with a safe working environment and suffer injuries as a result, they may have a legal right to seek compensation.
Understanding New York City Elevator Regulations
In New York City, the Department of Buildings (DOB) enforces rules and regulations concerning elevator inspections, maintenance, reports, and more. Those responsible for elevator devices, including property/building owners, building maintenance groups, landlords, contractors on construction sites, and others, are obligated to adhere to these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in liability for any accidents caused by negligence.
All elevators within the five boroughs of the city must undergo biannual inspections conducted by contracted inspection agencies. These inspections are typically unannounced, providing no prior warning to the building owners. For maintenance purposes, building owners are required to have an active maintenance contract with an approved elevator agency. It is the responsibility of this agency to provide repairs, maintenance, and replacements. As per the NYC Construction Code, maintenance contracts should incorporate a Maintenance Control Program (MCP) based on the maintenance protocol specified by the elevator manufacturer. Additionally, building owners must maintain a comprehensive maintenance log detailing all elevator maintenance activities.
Residents in multiple-unit dwellings must be notified at least 10 days in advance of any scheduled elevator maintenance. These notices should clearly outline the nature of the work being done on the elevators. It is mandatory to obtain permits for all maintenance activities.
As stated in the DOB’s Guide, the most common violation found during elevator testing is the failure to maintain the elevators. If an owner receives such a violation, they are given a grace period of 10 business days to rectify the defect, failing which they may face a criminal court summons. Negligence is demonstrated when a property or building owner fails to address a known issue in a timely manner.
Filing An Elevator Accident Lawsuit In New York
Lawsuits pertaining to elevator accidents are intricate, as they involve the application of various local and federal laws depending on the circumstances. Take, for instance, the specialized laws enacted in New York to safeguard construction site workers who often operate manual hoists. It is important to note that there is a specific time frame, known as the statute of limitations, within which an injury claim can be filed for elevator accidents. In these cases, accident victims have a period of three years from the date of the incident to initiate a claim.
Elevator injury lawsuits can be directed towards multiple parties, including the elevator repair company, property/building owners, companies, homeowner associations, developers, and other entities responsible for neglecting to ensure elevator safety. These parties may be held liable for damages, encompassing a range of factors, such as but not limited to:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
An experienced NYC elevator accident lawyer specializing in elevator accident cases meticulously gathers evidence, including elevator security footage, inspection data, maintenance logs, service reports, medical records, and other pertinent information. This comprehensive approach aims to highlight the profound impact a serious accident can have on the victim’s life, assisting juries and insurance companies in recognizing the gravity of the situation.
Contact Our NYC Elevator Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in an elevator-related accident, you can learn more about your rights and options today by speaking with a qualified NYC elevator accident lawyer. Contact Rosenberg & Rodriguez today to schedule a FREE case evaluation and learn more about how we can help.