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NYC Housing Authority Ignores Deadly Elevator Warning

Human error led to a senseless human tragedy in the Bronx. Now, the New York City Housing Authority has a lot of explaining to do.

An innocent man was killed in a deadly elevator accident at a Senior Housing facility in the Bronx late last year. Now, details are emerging that prove The New York City Housing Authority had a chance to prevent the accident. Instead, the troubled agency put off a repair until the next morning. That was too little, too late for 84-year-old Olegario Pabon, who was fatally injured inside the lift on December 24, 2015.

What happened here? A tenant informed the Housing Authority that there was a “very dangerous” elevator condition presently in the building. The elevator was behaving erratically, going up and down by itself with the door open. It was also reported that when the door to the elevator did close it would slam shut “real hard”. A dangerous condition without a doubt. The problem was improperly coded by Housing Authority employees.

Typically, an emergency like this would require a response within one hour. Inexplicably, this issue was listed as a “low priority” by the Housing Authority. Since it was not coded accurately, the Housing Authority repair personnel thought they had 48 hours to respond to the condition. Within 2 hours of the complaint, Mr. Pabon was critically injured as he tried to enter the unpredictable and erratic elevator. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital 3 days later.

Tragic. Sad. Senseless.

One thing that can’t go unnoticed is that this happened at a Senior Center. Who would ever think that a report of a dangerous elevator at a Senior Center is anything less than an emergency requiring immediate response? These are folks who need us to look out for them more than anyone. The segment of our population that requires the use of an elevator more than anyone else. This agency failed miserably in its duty to protect our most helpless citizens.

There is more: this elevator was well-known as a problem to this agency Reports indicate that another victim was trapped in this same elevator for hours only days before this accident. This victim had to rescued by the Fire Department. Yet this elevator remained in service.

Compounding the dangers, the elevator lacked basic safety requirements. The elevator was equipped with a brake monitor. A brake monitor is a device that is capable of shutting down an elevator when it malfunctions. Brake monitors can sometimes cause complications in elevators because they are sensitive. Occasionally they will cause an elevator to shut down because of their sensitivity, a minor inconvenience. Still, this safety device undoubtedly saves lives. This agency disabled the brake monitor in the elevator on purpose before this tragic accident.

This is not an isolated issue with the Housing Authority. In fact, a large percentage of the brake monitors in elevators at NYCHA buildings were reportedly found to be disabled or not working properly.

Elevator accidents usually result in tragic consequences. The law firm Block O’Toole & Murphy firm has successfully handled many elevator accident cases (A few of our past elevator accident cases can be found here

We appreciate their complexities.

If you are interested in learning more about elevator accidents and the laws in New York that govern them look here: New York Elevator Accident Lawyers

Our experienced team appreciates fighting for injured victims. Our track record of success as lawyers includes verdicts and settlements totaling nearly One-Billion dollars for our clients. Our website contains additional details about the firm, its New York injury lawyers and what our clients have to say about our work. If you are interested in speaking to anyone at Block O’Toole & Murphy you may call us at any time at 212.736-5300.

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