Every day, thousands of people in Bronx, NY make use of elevators as part of their routine home, work, or leisure activities.
Elevators in apartment complexes, office buildings, shopping malls, hospitals, airports, hotels, and department stores move nearly 300 million Americans every day. Riding in an elevator is so common that nobody worries about their safety when stepping in or out of it.
However, mechanical mishaps and malfunctions can cause severe accidents related to elevators and escalators, affecting thousands of people every year.
Accidents related to malfunctioning elevators in Bronx, NY are much more common than people realize. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer from personal injuries due to escalator and elevator accidents.
In many cases, old and poorly maintained elevators cause the personal injury accidents. However, in some cases, poor design and manufacturing defects may also be responsible.
Sometimes building owners also fail to address the liability issues on their premises regarding a poorly maintained elevator like abrupt stopping, door malfunctions, misleveling, or falls.
When elevators suddenly stop or drop, or when cables snap, it can result in severe personal injuries and death. There have been cases where elevator doors opened while the elevator carriage itself wasn’t present or elevator doors opened suddenly when someone leaned on them.
At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff law firm, our Bronx elevator accident attorneys have been representing victims of elevator accidents since 1922. In our nearly century long experience, we have represented over 30,000 victims of personal injuries and recovered over $1 billion in compensation.
In a personal injury lawsuit case like this, it’s important that the lawyer understands the elevator functions and features, the maintenance process, building codes, industry standards, and inspection regulations.
Want our experienced lawyers to review your elevator accident case for free? Just pick up the phone and call us now.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all about legal actions and types of damages available to you in an elevator accident in Bronx, NY.
Who is at risk for elevator and escalator accidents in Bronx, NY?
Anyone who uses an escalator or elevator in any private establishment or public place is at risk of getting injured. However, studies show that certain situations are more risky than others, including:
Workers who install, maintain, or repair elevators: Nearly 50% of deaths in elevator-related accidents occur when workers get caught in moving parts or fall down an elevator shaft.
Senior and elderly: According to a report published by Today’s Geriatric Medicine, approximately 44,870 elderly people suffered severe injuries in elevators and needed to be taken to the hospital.
One of the most common reasons why older adults get hurt in elevators is because canes and walkers get trapped in closing doors.
Office employees who use elevator in the office building: More than 25% of all elevator-caused deaths happen to employees who ride the office elevators on a daily basis.
Legal actions you can take after an elevator accident in Bronx, NY
Several parties can be held responsible for an elevator-related personal injury depending on the circumstances. For example, if the accident occurred because of some defect in manufacturing process, the manufacturer may be held liable.
If the elevator malfunctioned because of poor maintenance and repair practices, then the parties responsible for maintaining the elevator may be held liable.
If you or a loved one has been in an elevator accident, you can pursue a number of potential avenues to receive maximum compensation, such as:
File a worker’s compensation claim: Whether you were working on elevator installation/repair, or simply using the elevator in your office building, you can file for a Workers’ Comp claim.
File a product liability claim: If an elevator malfunctioned, its manufacturer can be held liable.
File a premises liability claim: If the owner or caretaker of the premises failed to maintain the elevator properly and warn users of the present risks, they can be held liable for damages.
Sometimes, it could be possible to take multiple legal actions to obtain compensation in these cases. For example, victims can file both product liability claim and a workers’ comp claim. We recommend consulting with a skilled elevator accident attorney to know all of your options.
What kinds of damages are available in elevator accident lawsuits in Bronx, NY?
The types of damages vary depending on the nature of the case and circumstances of the injury. Generally speaking, following damages could be available:
One of the other aspects of damages award in an elevator accident case is the compensation for lost wages. It includes payment for work the victim had to miss because of their injury even if sick time or vacation days were available to them.
In case the accident injuries have made the victim permanently unable to work, then the lost wages they would have earned over the course of a lifetime could be paid by the liable party.
Cost of medical treatment
If the elevator accident victim has to undergo medical testing or any health care like hospital stays, physical therapy, or nursing home stays, the liable party must pay to cover the entire medical bills.
In cases where the victim becomes permanently disabled and needs lifelong medical care or adaptive devices, medical bills can run quite high.
That’s why the medical portion of compensation should include all the costs victim has had to incur over the course of receiving medical treatment. It should also include a portion for the future medical costs.
Pain and suffering
The reason why insurance companies are so inclined to settle a case outside court is because juries tend to award large damages for pain and suffering – especially in elevator accident injury cases.
If a solution is reached and the personal injury case is settled, insurance companies use a “pain multiplier” formula to calculate a fair number of pain and suffering compensation.
Personal injury cases as horrifying as the elevator accidents often cause emotional distress to the victims. Psychiatric records and a diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder are used to prove the emotional distress, and it can add a good sum of money to the whole damages award.
Family members of the victims who have been killed in an elevator accident can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable parties.
However, the family member must have standing to be able to file the claim. Spouses can bring such a lawsuit and in cases of minor children, parents can bring this lawsuit.
Loss of consortium or loss of companionship
Loss of consortium is a highly specific kind of lawsuit; it can compensate a spouse if they have been rendered unable to have an intimate physical relationship with the injured victim.
On the other hand, loss of companionship lawsuit can be brought by a family member of the victim who was killed in the elevator accident, or who was altered in a significant way. It can compensate the family member for the loss of their relationship with the victim.
Exemplary damages, often referred to as punitive damages, are rare and they are not exactly designed to compensate the victim directly. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the parties responsible for the personal injury or make an example out of them.
These types of damage awards go beyond mere carelessness or negligence, and are specifically applied in situations where the liable party was so incredibly reckless that they showed a disturbing indifference for the consequences of their actions.
If it is proved that the liable party engaged in deliberate, willful, or intentional conduct to harm the victim, punitive damages may apply.
Economic and non-economic damages
There are two broader kinds of damages that may apply in elevator-caused personal injury cases: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages: These damages are awarded as a direct result of actual financial costs like lost wages and medical bills. In other words, these are the damages that you can actually assign a dollar value to.
Non-economic damages: These include all the other types of damages where it’s hard to put a firm number on such as emotional distress, pain, and suffering caused as a result of the elevator accident.
What obligation does an owner have to maintain an elevator in Bronx, NY?
With nearly 2,200 escalators in New York City alone, there’s always a risk of accidents for one reason or another.
Owners of office buildings, shopping malls, and retail stores are required by law to appropriately maintain the escalators located within their premises. However, there’s a huge difference between what “should” be done and what actually happens.
According to the premises liability law, the property owners should repair any and all hazards in a timely manner. They should also take proper measures to warn the visitors regarding the existing hazard.
Laws regarding elevator accident injuries in Bronx also state that the negligent property owners may be held liable for the injuries of property visitors if:
- The said injuries are caused by hazards that the owner(s) knew about or should have known about
- The owner(s) took no steps to repair the hazard or they failed to warn the visitors about it
The Bronx, NY law requires that all escalators in use must be installed, maintained, and repaired in a proper manner.
The Department of Buildings’ Elevator Division conducts routine inspections to make sure the escalators and elevators in use are safe as well as in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards and the NYC building code.
In order to be legally operated, all escalators must pass the installation tests and periodic inspections conducted by the Department of Buildings. And still, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 6,000 injuries and 2 deaths occur in escalator-related accidents in the US every year.
What kind of injuries can occur from a malfunctioning escalator?
Accidents that generally result from a malfunctioning escalator include:
- Slipping and falling, especially with children and elderly passengers
- Finger entrapment if the handrail entry at the balustrade has too wide of an opening
- Between-step entrapment
- Comb plate entrapment
- Shoes, clothing, or hair becoming lodged in the escalator
According to an estimate by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- 75% of escalator injuries are caused by falls
- 20% are caused by entrapment
- 5% are caused by other causes (mentioned above)
A variety of defects are responsible for the escalator accidents such as:
- Loose or missing screws
- Missing “teeth” on the track
- Too much space between the escalator sides and the steps (the moving walk area)
- Missing or broken escalator steps
- Variety of general malfunctions regarding escalator speed, stopping, starting, etc.
All these countless malfunctions can lead to different types of injuries, including:
- Broken bones from falls, slips, or entrapment
- Joint injuries from twisting or tearing as a result of falls, slips, or entrapment
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, tears, and lacerations
- Spinal cord injuries (including paralysis)
- Traumatic brain injuries
Property owners are required to pay all inspection fees and maintenance expenses related to all the elevators and escalators on their premises. If they fail to properly maintain the escalators (or elevators), they can be liable to pay heavy fines.
And if their failure to properly install and maintain the escalator results in an accident, they can also be held liable for damages that are due to the victim of the said accident.
Choose the RMFW Law Firm in Bronx, NY to receive maximum compensation
Have you or a loved one been harmed in an elevator accident in Bronx? Do you want to make sure you receive a fair and maximum monetary compensation for your suffering?
The consequences of an elevator accident can be financially and emotionally taxing for injured as well as their families. However, there are laws in place that ensure the innocent victims don’t have to pay for these accidents – the law places the costs solely on the parties responsible for the accident.
The tenacious personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff& Wolff law firm can help you understand your rights and legal options in an elevator injury case.
Allow us to use our 97+ years’ experience to pursue a claim that guarantees you receive a monetary compensation you rightfully deserve.
Get in touch with our passionate and knowledgeable elevator accident attorneys to determine whether you have a good claim for damages and how to get the best possible compensation for you.
Here’s what we will do for you:
- Determine if the property owner failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the unnecessary risk of harm to passengers
- Investigate the cause of accidents, i.e. why the elevator/escalator malfunctioned
- Gather solid evidence to prove the liability of parties responsible for malfunctioning elevator/escalator – this could be building owner, building caretaker, elevator/escalator manufacturer, or the maintenance company.
There is a reason why RMFW law firm in Bronx, NY has a highly successful track record that spans nearly a century. Call us at 212-697-9280 or write to us for a free and immediate case evaluation today.