As we have talked about before, elevator-related deaths are extremely rare. On average, only 27 people per year are killed by elevators. Which is what makes the incidents that occurred this past month all the more strange. Two separate accidents, wherein people were killed in or around elevators.
The first incident involved a locksmith, who was visiting friends at their Williamsburg apartment. The elevator in this particular building was a thing of minor legend, and a point of real consternation for all tenants. It would often wobble and creak, jolting upwards or downwards in unpredictable ways when riders were aboard. This erratic behavior had earned the elevator a litany of violations. Unfortunately, it was not decommissioned before its malfunctions resulted in death.
Eran Modan, the 37-year-old locksmith in question, was riding the elevator with four of his friends, when the doors failed to close and the elevator plummeted to the basement. The four friends, static with fear, cringed in the corner of the elevator car. Only Modan attempted to jump out. As he did, the elevator jerked upwards, back towards the lobby. Mr. Modan’s body was caught between floors, ripped in two by the architecture and the elevator’s mechanisms.
He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The second accident may have been even grislier still. A couple on a Carnival cruise reported a nightmarish sight near one of the boat’s many elevators: a curtain of blood spilling down from above. (The couple even took gruesome footage of the scene.) Evidently, an mechanic, who had been servicing an out-of-order elevator, was caught in the machinery, and killed. Blood accumulated atop the elevator carriage and then leaked down towards its open doors below. Employees aboard the ocean liner rushed to action, ushering customers away from the bloodshed.
As illustrated by the accidents detailed above, elevators pose the most danger to those trying to climb out through the open doors of a stalled car, and to those who are outside of the designated riding area. If a car is trapped between floors, attempting to extricate oneself from a stuck elevator can prove deadly. Most elevators have safety systems installed which will catch a rapidly descending car before it hits the ground floor. What these systems cannot do, however, is prevent grievous bodily injury to those whose limbs are caught between floor and car in the event of an unexpected drop or rise. Protocol dictates that, if stuck in an elevator, you remain where you are! The “CALL” button, which is located beneath the floor numbers, will put you in touch with proper authorities. Otherwise, use your cell phone to call 9-1-1. Once emergency services have been contacted, sit tight- firemen and other specialists can help secure the situation, making absolute certain the elevator is in no danger of dropping further BEFORE you attempt to climb out. Sometimes, those thrust into perilous situations will panic; it is human nature. It’s important to remember that when stuck in an elevator, keeping your cool can help save your life.
Elevator Quick Facts
- There are approximately 1 million elevators in the United States of America, servicing residential, commercial and industrial buildings alike.
- There are two main sub-types of elevators: passenger and freight.
- Passenger elevators average about 5 people per trip.
- Some of the largest freight elevators in the world have a capacity to hold over 8 tons!
The Reasons Elevators Malfunction
- Inexpert, incomplete, or otherwise incompetent maintenance or inspection caused a hazardous defect.
- An electrical malfunction caused by faulty wiring or flooding in the building.
- FYI: An overcrowded elevator will not, except in the most extreme of circumstances, cause the car to break from its cord and drop down the shaft. Most elevators will “lock,” as a safety precaution, when overloaded.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Of course, the design of this article is not to scare you away from riding elevators forever but, in a more general sense, alert you to the inherent dangers of the everyday world. Life can be unpredictable, and danger unavoidable, but you will always be able to increase the odds of your staying safe by adhering to posted safety signage, following proper emergency protocol, and remaining alert, aware, and careful in all situations.
If you’ve been careful, and you’ve still been injured, someone else might be at fault. Landlords and superintendents are legally obligated to maintain safe living environments for all of their tenants. Slick steps, derelict banisters, and icy stoops can all lead to slips, trips and falls. In the story above, for instance, the malfunctions of the Brooklyn elevator were well-known, and yet, nobody in charge did anything about it. The results were tragic. If you believe that you’ve been likewise harmed- if you believe that the negligence or outright malfeasance of a property owner has directly caused your injury, it may be within your rights to sue. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can appraise the facts, review your case, and begin formulating a strong legal strategy, uniquely tailored to your situations.
Our consultations are a free and easy way to get started, so contact us today.