Elevator Accident Leads To Premises Liability Lawsuit

As a woman was stepping aboard an elevator, it suddenly rose. The moving elevator killed the woman in a tragic case of dangerous premises. A lawsuit has been filed in response. The suit claims that the elevator repair company responsible for fixing the device had left a “jumper wire” connected which bypassed the safety circuit. Bypassing the safety circuit is necessary while elevators undergo repairs.

Leaving the safety circuit bypassed was not the only mistake made by the repair company, according to the claims against them. In addition, the company is accused of failing to post signs indicating that the elevator was undergoing repairs. It also failed to contact the Department of Buildings to schedule an inspection before the elevator could legally be put back into service. City officials conducted an investigation that concluded the workers failed to follow established safety protocols.

Elevator and escalator accidents kill roughly 30 people a year in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. An additional 17,000 people are seriously injured in elevator and escalator accidents, annually. Typically, elevator accidents involve falls down open shafts. The majority of those killed are people working on or near the elevators. In fact, 54 percent of deaths involving elevators involve the installation or repair of the elevator.

Buildings maintaining elevators or escalators are required to use trained and certified companies to keep the devices in safe working condition. When corners are cut or protocols are ignored, the results can be tragic.

Source: New York Post, “Father of ad exec killed in elevator suing repair company,” by Josh Saul and Dan MaCleod, 29 January 2013