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After fatal accident, NYC residents have reason to question safety of elevators

| Oct 13, 2015 | Premises Liability

To residents and workers in New York City, taking an elevator is likely an everyday occurrence. In fact, most people don’t even think twice before entering an elevator car and taking it to their desired floor. However, when news of a deadly elevator accident breaks, it gives city residents pause to consider the safety of the elevators in which they ride on a daily basis.

Earlier this month, a night spent dancing with friends ended in tragedy as a 37-year-old man was crushed in an elevator shaft. The fatal elevator accident occurred after several friends crammed into an elevator car at an upscale Brooklyn apartment building.

Police believe approximately 10 people were inside the car when it suddenly plunged downward towards the building’s basement. At that time, the 37-year-old man attempted to exit the car when it unexpectedly started ascending. The man’s body was crushed in the accident and he died.

Upon investigating what factors may have contributed to the accident, investigators honed in on possible defects in the elevator’s braking system. While the elevator’s weight capacity was posted at 2,100 lbs., or the equivalent of roughly 14 people, the investigators determined that the “device brake was unable to hold the capacity load.”

This year alone, there have been a total of 35 reported elevator-related injuries, including this most recent death. While thankfully rare, when these types of accidents do occur they tend to be serious in nature and result in those individuals involved suffering debilitating or fatal injuries.

An investigation into this specific accident is still pending as police attempt to determine the possible roles that the elevator’s manufacturer as well as the building’s owner may have played in contributing to the malfunctioning braking system.

Source: The New York Times, “Deadly Elevator Fall Spurs Look at Brakes and Load,” Benjamin Mueller, Oct. 3, 2015

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