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NYC officials closer to finding cause of fatal elevator accident

February 1, 2012 Premises Liability

On behalf of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP

When news broke in December 2011 that a woman was killed in a tragic New York City elevator accident, many likely wondered about the safety of the elevators they use on a daily basis. Others wondered how the tragedy unfolded. The exact cause has not yet been announced, but New York City officials have provided some information that gives the public a better idea of who might be responsible for the fatality.

According to the New York Times, a maintenance company’s repairmen worked on the elevator just before accident. Robert LiMandri, commissioner of the New York City Buildings Department, said that based on the City’s investigation so far, this work was the likely culprit of the fatal elevator accident

. The commissioner said the maintenance work either caused or contributed in part to the woman’s death.

In addition to conducting an investigation of the Midtown accident, the Buildings Department made the biggest elevator inspection sweep in New York City history. The sweep, in which 650 elevators went through inspection, led to some violations, but did not reveal anything out of the ordinary. The Midtown accident appears to be a freak accident rather than a sign of any kind of widespread safety issue.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has also been involved in the investigation, but to date, it has not filed any criminal charges in relation to the elevator accident. While it is possible that someone at the maintenance company will eventually face charges, there is also the chance that in the meantime, the victim’s family members can seek to obtain compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: New York Times, “Elevator Work Blamed in Death of Suzanne Hart,” Cara Buckley and Michael M. Grynbaum, Jan. 23, 2012