/jcreiterlaw.com/Jonathan C. Reiter/ 12/08/2009
Elevators are one of the most commonly used forms of mass transit in New York City. There are a reported 60,000 elevators in apartment buildings and commercial buildings ridden by millions of New York residents each and every day, who do not give a second thought to the possibility that these machines can tragically malfunction, according to the New York Times.
Last year, a 5-year-old boy, identified as Jacob Neuman, was tragically and fatally injured when he became trapped in an elevator shaft trying to free himself from a stalled public housing elevator. Last month, 34-year-old Gerhardt Fuchs suffered fatal injuries when he tried to escape from an elevator that stopped short of the landing and his clothing caught causing him to fall.
The NYC buildings commissioner, Robert D. LiMandri and chief elevator inspector Douglas Smith visited Brooklyn schools, to speak to children about the potential hazards of panicking if trapped in an elevator.
They told children that if they are ever stuck in an elevator, to remember to do three things: “Ring, relax, and wait”- Call emergency services on the phone, stay calm and wait for help to come. They also warned children that it is not safe to jump out of the elevator if it has unexpectedly stopped. Their goal was to make “ring, relax and wait” a mantra that children can easily remember.
The elevator inspector also referred to reports of incidents where elevators malfunctioned due to electrical complications and pointed out that he had investigated 24 elevator-related deaths in the past decade. The Building Department statistics showed that there have been 99 elevator accidents involving an injury to a child in New York City alone since 2004. Each November the City takes a week to promote national “elevator/escalator safety awareness week”, which is organized by the non-profit organization The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation.
Elevator/ Escalator accidents can happen unexpectedly to anyone. If you or a loved one was injured in an elevator accident, an experienced premises liability attorney is vital to help determine if the elevator or escalator was properly maintained and if they property manager/owner may be liable for the incident. A premises liability injury can occur when the property manager fails to repair damaged electrical equipment, during free falls or sudden stops, or when the doors close too quickly.
Jonathan C. Reiter, a seasoned New York personal injury lawyer, urges all New Yorkers to use due care when riding on elevators, especially in older buildings. Parents and adults need to set an example for our youth by teaching them about how to deal with potential elevator problems to avoid panic reactions that can cause serious injuries.
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