Skip to Content

Liability for NY Elevator & Escalator Accidents

City Elevator Traffic

Elevator and escalator accidents can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. In New York, where high-rises dominate the cityscape, these accidents are sadly not uncommon. The causes can range from mechanical failure and improper maintenance to faulty design. Identifying who is liable for such accidents is crucial in ensuring victims receive fair compensation.

Common Causes of Elevator & Escalator Accidents

Elevator and escalator accidents can occur because of:

  • Mechanical failure. Mechanical failure is a common cause of elevator and escalator accidents. This may include broken cables, electrical failures, or malfunctions in the braking system. For instance, if an elevator abruptly stops due to a brake malfunction, passengers can be thrown off balance, leading to injuries.
  • Improper maintenance. Regular maintenance is essential for the safe operation of elevators and escalators. When this is neglected, components may wear out, resulting in potentially dangerous conditions. A poorly maintained escalator might suddenly stop or speed up, causing passengers to fall.
  • Defective design. Faulty design can also contribute to accidents. An elevator designed with insufficient safety features or an escalator with inadequate handrails can pose dangers to users.

Identifying Potentially Liable Parties

If you are injured in an escalator or elevator accident, you will need to establish liability (if you wish to pursue compensation). Some of the parties that may be responsible for such an accident include:

  • Building owners and property managers. In New York, building owners and property managers have a duty to ensure their premises, including elevators and escalators, are safe. If they fail to perform regular maintenance checks or ignore reported issues, they can be held liable.
  • Maintenance contractors. Maintenance contractors are responsible for servicing and repairing elevators and escalators. If an accident occurs due to their negligence—such as using substandard parts or failing to identify a mechanical issue—they can be held accountable.
  • Equipment Manufacturers. If the accident is caused by a design flaw or manufacturing defect, the equipment manufacturer may be held responsible. For example, if an escalator's emergency stop button didn't work during a malfunction, leading to injuries, the manufacturer could be liable.

Evidence That Can Help Establish Liability

Following an accident, you should gather evidence to pinpoint liability, such as:

  • Accident reports. File an accident report with the property owner and relevant authorities.
  • Building code violation/reports. Violations of building codes related to elevator and escalator safety can strengthen your case.
  • Expert testimony. An engineer or safety expert can analyze the elevator or escalator and identify malfunctions.
  • Maintenance records. Request access to maintenance records to check for any prior issues.
  • Medical records. Document your injuries for potential compensation claims.
  • Security footage. If available, security camera footage can provide a visual record of the accident.
  • Witness statements. Obtain statements from anyone who witnessed the accident.

Get Legal Counsel

Taking an elevator or escalator is a routine act, but when these everyday conveniences malfunction, the results can be catastrophic. If you've been injured in a New York elevator or escalator accident, the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli

Contact us online or via phone at (516) 628-6402.

Share To: