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Repairman held responsible in one New York City elevator accident

January 9, 2012 Premises Liability

On behalf of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP posted in Premises Liability on Monday, January 9, 2012.

Officials in Brooklyn recently announced that an elevator repairman will now face criminal charges after a woman became trapped in an elevator last Christmas while visiting a patient at a New York City hospital.

According to the news source, the elevator accident happened after the repairman disabled a safety switch. The woman that was injured reportedly stepped into the elevator as it shot upwards. Her leg became caught between the elevator and the shaft. She suffered serious injuries, and was in the hospital for three months recovering from her injuries.

The safety switch that the repairman disabled was intended to prevent the elevator from moving when the doors were open. Officials say the repairman should have checked to make sure no one was in the elevator before disabling the safety switch. He also should have been working with another person. He has been charged with assault and reckless endangerment.

That accident happened just one year before another elevator accident killed a New York advertising executive, as written about in a previous post. Investigators for the most recent accident are now focusing their attention on maintenance work that was done just hours before the woman was killed.

The advertising executive was similarly caught between the outside of the elevator and the elevator shaft after it shot upwards as she was entering.

In the wake of these tragic accidents, Brooklyn’s district attorney recommended the passage of a bill that would require elevator maintenance workers receive continuing education and licensing.

In both accidents, the lives of individuals and their families were changed forever. It appears the negligence of another contributed to at least one of the tragedies.

In addition to criminal charges, the repairman could face a personal injury lawsuit. If investigators find that a maintenance worker is responsible for the woman’s death in the most recent case, they may also face similar consequences.

Source: Fox News, “Gruesome Elevator Accidents Reveal New York Nightmare,” Dec. 15, 2011