Every year, a number of New Yorkers are injured or killed while on someone else's property. Many of these incidents are caused by negligent property owners who fail to reasonably maintain the condition of their property. In a particularly tragic occurrence, a six-week old baby was killed recently after her stroller fell down an empty elevator shaft in a Brooklyn building.
The incident occurred when the baby's mother was waiting with her child in a stroller on the 23rd floor of a privately owned apartment building. The doors to the elevator opened and when the mother stepped forward, both she and the baby plunged eight stories down and landed on an out-of-service elevator car. There were no warning signs posted. A repairman heard the mother's screams and came to their aid. The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter. The mother suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The apartment building is undergoing reconstruction and city records reveal that the building has received 20 complaints about out-of-service elevators from January 2015 to September 2016. The building also has 50 open building code violations against it, four of which are related to elevator issues.
The incident occurred as a mechanic from Centennial Elevator Co. was working on the elevator. Centennial is the subject of two investigations by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration at other New York locations.
When negligent property owners fail to keep their premises in safe condition or to warn people of hidden dangers, they can be held liable for any injuries and deaths that result. Those who are injured, and the families of those who are killed, should understand their rights to compensation under our civil justice system.
Source: New York Daily News, "6-week-old baby dead after plunging down elevator shaft of Brooklyn building with history of violations; 'Everybody is scared to take that elevator'," Kerry Burke, Thomas Tracy, and Greg. B. Smith, Oct. 14, 2016