Mishaps with elevators can have major consequences. They could even cause deaths. This is illustrated in a tragic incident that occurred here in New York City a few months ago.
The incident involved an elevator operated by the New York City Housing Authority. The elevator was located in a senior housing development in the city.
Last December, an 81-year-old resident of the development attempted to enter the elevator. However, the elevator lift kept moving despite the elevator door being open, and the man tripped. The door then closed on the man. When the door eventually opened, the man fell into the hallway. The man suffered skull fracture injuries in the fall. The injuries from the incident proved fatal.
The city's Department of Investigation conducted an investigation of the incident and the surrounding circumstances. It issued a report regarding its findings in late March.
As problems with elevators can cause major harm, one would hope all entities connected to a given elevator, including the party in charge of the elevator's operation, would take appropriate steps to ensure the elevator is problem-free. Given this, many may find the findings of the investigation troubling.
While the report did not pin down the specific cause of the elevator incident, it did outline several problems that the investigation uncovered related to the elevator and the NYCHA's conduct regarding it. Among the investigation's findings were that:
- Less than two hours before the accident, the NYCHA received warnings of irregularities with the elevator, but the agency did not take prompt efforts to respond to the warnings.
- The NYCHA had not been complying with new rules regarding elevator brake device inspections.
- Elevator blueprints provided to the NYCHA were misleading.
- The elevator's brake monitor was deliberately disabled. It was also found that many other elevators in the NYCHA system had problems with this elevator component.
One wonders what long-terms effects the incident and the report's findings will have on NYCHA conduct regarding the elevators it operates.
Elevators are complex machines with many components. Many different elevator component problems could pose safety risks. This is why careful elevator inspection/maintenance is so important.
Experienced premises liability attorneys can help individuals harmed as a result of problems with an elevator understand their legal options related to the accident.