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New York Elevator Accident Lawyers

Representing Elevator Injury Victims Throughout New York State

Elevator Injury Lawyers

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) reports more than 84,000 elevator devices under their jurisdiction, 63,000 of which are passenger elevators. On average, these elevators complete about 35 million passenger trips every single day. Luckily, New York has numerous local laws governing the installation, inspection, and maintenance of these elevators. However, when elevator maintenance companies, building owners, general contractors, and other responsible parties fail to comply with the applicable laws and safety standards, serious accidents can happen.

If you suffered an injury while working on or riding in an elevator, we urge you to explore your legal options by contacting Block O’Toole & Murphy as soon as possible. Our skilled New York City attorneys have an excellent track record in litigating elevator accident cases, including top multi-million-dollar recoveries. Results include*:

  • $7,200,000 settlement in a wrongful death case in which a Brooklyn man fell to his death after he became trapped in a misleveled elevator
  • $7,000,000 settlement for a man who was working for a major retailer when his back came into contact with elevator doors that gave way, causing him to fall 30 feet down the elevator shaft
  • $5,500,000 settlement for a delivery worker who was seriously hurt after he was struck by the interior gate of a freight elevator in Midtown East
  • $4,500,000 settlement for a worker who suffered debilitating injuries after a heavy hoist gate fell and hit him at a Manhattan construction site
  • $4,000,000 recovery for an elevator erector injured as a result of a work accident in Manhattan
  • $3,000,000 settlement after an elevator technician was injured in a work fall while working on a disabled elevator
  • $2,250,000 wrongful death recovery for the spouse of an elevator erector who was fatally injured as a result of a tragic construction accident in Chelsea
  • $2,000,000 recovery in a Brooklyn case for a man hurt as a result of an elevator malfunction
  • $1,900,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the elevator repair company when a man riding the elevator was hurt because of sudden deceleration
  • $1,500,000 settlement in the case of two auto parts workers who sustained injuries when the freight elevator they were riding fell

The Law Firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy has the most successful personal injury record in New York State, attaining more results exceeding $1,000,000 each year than any other New York law firm since 2012. If you’ve been harmed as a result of an elevator accident, learn your legal rights today. Call 212-736-5300 for a FREE case evaluation.


  1. Handling a Broad Spectrum of Elevator Accidents
  2. Aftermath of an Elevator Accident
  3. Elevator Accidents in Construction Work
  4. New York City Elevator Regulations
  5. Filing an Elevator Accident Lawsuit in New York
  6. Consult an Elevator Injury Attorney Today

Handling a Broad Spectrum of Elevator Accidents

Every year, approximately 30 people die in elevator accidents and 17,000 are left seriously injured in the U.S. In New York, more than 20 people have died in elevator accidents since 2010. In the city that has the largest number of elevator devices in North America, it is crucial that they are properly maintained and serviced for passengers. When an accident does happen, victims should know that they have options moving forward. As one of New York’s premier personal injury law firms, Block O’Toole & Murphy handles a wide array of elevator accident cases. These may involve:

  • Sudden acceleration or deceleration
  • Misleveling, or the elevator failing to line up with the building floor
  • Becoming caught in the elevator door
  • Injuries caused by manually operated hoists on construction sites
  • Falling down an open elevator shaft
  • Being trapped in the main elevator compartment
  • Being crushed between the elevator wall and the car
  • Defective governors
  • Improper maintenance of the hoist cable
  • Bypassing the interlock circuit
  • Safety device failures
  • Wet floors, causing slip and fall accidents
  • Manufacturing defects

Elevator accidents can result in very serious injuries, including spinal fractures, herniated discs, concussions, brain damage, broken bones, and even death. Injury victims need an attorney that knows the laws inside and out, understands the rights of elevator workers and passengers, and has the tools to maximize financial recovery. Unfortunately for those injured in an elevator accident, these cases are heavily defended.

Aftermath of an Elevator Accident

It is very important that a qualified attorney be hired as soon after an elevator accident as possible. Quite often, the building owner’s insurance company is present when the New York City Buildings Department (DOB) and/or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) arrives at an accident scene to investigate an elevator accident. Insurance companies often dispatch accident investigators, elevators experts, and attorneys to elevator accident scenes, while the injured person is still in the hospital. While an injured person should focus on their injuries and recovery, it is important that they also look to protect their legal rights by promptly hiring attorneys.

When Block O’Toole & Murphy is hired for an elevator accident case, the first thing we do is contact the responsible parties and advise them to preserve the accident scene so that our elevator expert can inspect the elevator in question and its components before they are repaired or removed. In accidents resulting in death, the FDNY often preserves the elevator until the Buildings Department can conduct an inspection. It is important that the attorneys and experts retained on behalf of the injured party also be present when that inspection is taking place and that all component parts of the faulty elevator be preserved. Time is NOT on the side of a person injured in an elevator accident.

Elevator accident experts need to be hired as soon after an accident as possible. There are several potentially liable players in an elevator accident case: the building owner, the property management company for the building, the elevator maintenance company, and all contractors that may have performed work on the subject elevator or in proximity to the elevator or its shaft. At times, construction debris from work not directly related to the elevator itself can fall into an elevator shaft, causing damage to the component parts of the elevator and leading to failure.

When Block O’Toole & Murphy is hired by an elevator accident victim, we carefully request and obtain all maintenance, records, inspection records, work orders, capital improvement estimates, and building violation notices as well as building permits to establish negligence and responsibility for the accident. Our experience reveals that often building owners are told in writing by their maintenance companies that they need to upgrade and modernize their elevator equipment prior to the accident occurring. Building owners often delay this work because they feel it is too expensive. It is the job of the attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy to hold building owners who place money over the safety of passengers responsible when accidents occur.

Elevator Accidents in Construction Work

Construction workers are placed at a significant risk for elevator accidents. The rate of elevator-related deaths among construction workers doubled from 2003 to 2016, reaching a peak of 37 deaths in 2015. More than 50 percent of these fatalities were from falls, the overall leading cause of fatal accidents in the construction industry. In addition to falls, workers are severely injured by elevators in caught-in accidents, crushed-by accidents, struck-by accidents, and even electrocutions. These accidents most commonly affect the workers who build and deconstruct elevator devices, followed by those who perform repairs and maintenance.

Notably, the majority of elevator-related deaths affected workers younger than 35 years of age. This brings to question the quality of training that younger workers receive before being assigned to work on elevator systems. Construction companies have a duty to ensure that all construction workers hired to work on elevators have received proper training and safety protection, including personal fall arrest systems. If workers are not provided with a safe work environment and are injured as a result, they may have a legal right to compensation.

New York City Elevator Regulations

worker inspecting elevator

In New York City, the DOB enforces rules and regulations regarding elevator inspections, maintenance, reports, etc. Those responsible for elevator devices, such as property/building owners, building maintenance groups, landlords, contractors on construction sites, and others are required to adhere to these guidelines. If they do not, they may be held liable for any accidents caused by their negligence.

All elevators within the five city boroughs must be inspected twice annually by a contracted inspection agency. Generally, these inspections are done spontaneously with no warning given to the building owner. For maintenance, building owners must have an active maintenance contract with an approved elevator agency. This agency is responsible for providing repairs, maintenance, and replacements. According to the NYC Construction Code, maintenance contracts should include a Maintenance Control Program (MCP) based on the maintenance protocol specified by the specific elevator manufacturer. Additionally, building owners must keep a detailed maintenance log that describes all maintenance performed on elevators.

In multiple unit dwellings, residents must be notified at least 10 days in advance of any elevator maintenance work. These notices should specify the type of work being done on the elevators. Permits are required for any work done.

According to the DOB’s Guide, the most common violation is a failure to maintain an elevator, which are violations issued when a defect is found during testing. If an owner receives a violation, they have 10 business days to fix the defect or potentially face a criminal court summons. A property or building owner’s failure to fix an issue that they are aware of is negligent behavior.

Filing an Elevator Accident Lawsuit in New York

Elevator accident lawsuits are complex. Depending on the circumstance, different local and federal laws apply to the case. For example, New York enacted specialized laws designed to protect construction site workers who often operate manual hoists. There is a statute of limitations, or window in which you can file an injury claim, for elevator accident injuries. Accident victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim.

Elevator injury lawsuits can be filed against multiple parties, including the elevator repair company, property/building owners, companies, homeowner associations, developers, and other parties responsible for failing to ensure safety on elevators. These parties can be sued for damages including, but not limited to:

A lawyer experienced in litigating elevator accident cases will collect evidence such as security footage inside the elevator, inspection data, maintenance logs, service reports, medical records, and other relevant information to help juries and insurance companies recognize the impact that a serious accident can have on the victim’s life.

Consult an Elevator Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in an elevator-related accident, you can learn more about your rights and options today by speaking with a qualified attorney. Simply call 212-736-5300, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a FREE case evaluation. We serve all New York State, including Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo.

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*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Personal Injury

Speak with an NYC Elevator Injury Lawyer

To discuss your legal options after an elevator accident, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out the online form below for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.