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Who is liable for elevator accidents?

New York City is famous for its iconic skyscrapers and elevators are common everywhere from shopping centers to residential apartment buildings. Most of the time, elevators are a modern-day convenience, but every year elevators and escalators cause about 17,000 injuries and 30 deaths in the United States.

Who is liable when elevator accidents happen?


In New York, property owners may be liable for injuries that happen because of a poorly maintained, defective or otherwise dangerous elevator. This may include empty elevator shafts or broken elevators that are not adequately secured to prevent people from entering.


If a defect in materials, workmanship or design caused an elevator to malfunction, the company that designed or manufactured the elevator could be liable for injuries that result.


If a faulty installation or repair led to the accident, the company that serviced or installed the elevator could be liable for injuries.


Workers who suffer injuries while operating or working in or around elevators may have workers’ compensation coverage. Employers may be liable in some cases.


Several types of elevator accidents can cause injuries:

  • A car that stops without being level with the floor
  • Elevator that drops suddenly
  • Doors that close on people who are entering or exiting
  • Cars that stop between floors
  • Falls in elevator shafts

Defective safety devices, poor maintenance, faulty wiring, equipment malfunction, unfinished or poor repairs, pulley malfunctions and unbalanced leveling can cause elevator accidents.

Elevator accidents can lead to serious injuries and deaths. In some cases, more than one party may be at fault for an accident.

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