Tragedy struck a Coney Island family last week, when a six week old girl and her mother fell into an elevator shaft. The accident occurred on the 23rd floor of the Sea Rise II apartments, a building with 50 open building code violations, including four elevator violations.
The baby’s mother was waiting for the elevator, which unbeknownst to her because there were no signs, was being repaired at the time. The elevator’s doors opened and the mother pushed the child’s stroller inside, not realizing that the elevator was actually six to eight feet below the floor. The baby fell onto the elevator’s roof and her mother fell on top of her. To make things worse, the elevator then dislodged and plummeted eight floors before coming to a stop on the 15th floor. A repairman heard the 21 year old mother’s screams and pulled her from the elevator shaft. She has been hospitalized and is expected to survive, the baby died at the scene.
The owners of apartment buildings have a duty of care to keep them safe for all legal visitors. This is a legal concept call “premises liability.” If they know of an unsafe condition but fail to remedy it, or do not adequately warn the public of the unsafe condition (such as an “elevator out of order” sign), they can be held liable for all damages the injured party suffers. Our hearts go out to this little girl and her family, and we urge all parents to keep their children safe. If you or a family member has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, you have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. To find out more about your legal rights and options, call the New York elevator accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP for a free case evaluation. Dial (212) 986-7353.