Elevator riders in West Virginia and around the country are protected by a variety of sophisticated safety devices, but accidents can and do still happen. One such accident claimed the life of a 30-year-old New York man on Aug. 22. The man died after becoming trapped between the elevator cab and the shaft wall. He was exiting the elevator at approximately 8:30 a.m. when the cab began to move. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The New York City Department of Buildings has launched an investigation into the accident, but initial reports suggest that lax maintenance and a casual attitude toward safety may have played a role. The Kips Bay building has been cited for 26 safety violations in recent years according to media reports, and a building inspection in May uncovered an elevator safety device that had been tampered with and rendered inoperative.
Local residents told reporters that they were saddened but not surprised when they heard about the fatal elevator accident. Many of them said that the building's unpredictable elevators are a frequent topic of conversation in the neighborhood. The property's management company declined to comment when asked about the accident.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may study building inspection reports and violation histories when preparing premises liability litigation. They could also check court records to find out if the property owners involved have faced similar lawsuits in the past. When these efforts reveal multiple citations for dangerous conditions and a disregard for the safety of visitors, attorneys may argue that property owners acted with gross negligence. This is recklessness so severe that death or serious injury was inevitable.