Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Elevator and Escalator

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La Reguera DominicanaA man died in a New York elevator accident on Saturday. Jose Fernandez, 43  from the Dominican Republic was a worker at the Discount Store La Reguera Dominicana on 182nd Street in Manhattan. The man was loading merchandise into the freight elevator in the basement when the accident happened. For some unknown reason, the freight elevator suddenly moved up and trapped his head. The Department of Buildings is investigating the cause of the accident.

The online property profile overview of the NYC Department of Buildings has no record for the elevator. The freight elevator which had no doors was installed illegally a year ago, without a permit when a previous auto repair shop was turned into a discount store.

The building has an open violation for illegal occupancy and last year 3 complaints were opened accusing the building owner of performing renovations without a valid work permit.

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5 people died and 51 were injured in elevator accidents in New York City  last year. Last year in October a man was crushed to death as he tried to escape an elevator at the Espoir Building in Brooklyn (see previous blog). Trying to escape a stalled elevator is not a good idea says the NYC Department of Buildings in a new advertising campaign  being launched today. The campaign entitled “Stay Safe. Stay Put.” is designed to remind New Yorkers that if  they are stuck in an elevator, the safest place to be is inside the car.

Every day millions of people use the 71,000 elevators  existing in New York City.  New York City elevators are relatively safe. The number of people  injured in an elevator accident in the city decreased from 105 in 2007 to 51 last year.

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50 BroadwayAn elevator worker was seriously injured in an elevator accident in New York. The man was working on an elevator in a building in downtown Manhattan when the accident happened. Witnesses said they heard the desperate man screaming for help. The man was working on a newly installed elevator at 50 Broadway in the Financial Distrcit. He was employed by  Centennial Elevator Industries. Firefighters who were called to the rescue were seen transporting the arm in ice in an attempt to preserve it. The worker was transported to the hospital in critical condition.  According to the Post doctors have been trying to reattach his arm.

Read more in the New York Post

Picture of the location of the accident courtesy of Google Map


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Park Slope Garage CondominiumA 4 year old boy died after falling in an elevator shaft inside a luxury NYC garage. According to the police, Jack Roberts slipped through a 10 inch gap between a freight elevator and the shaft at the Park Slope Garage Condominium in Brooklyn, NYC. For some unknown reason, the toddler and his parents were allowed to use a freight elevator that was meant for vehicles to get to the third floor of the garage. Other owners of parking spaces who learned about the elevator accident were in shock.  They said it was very unusual for the staff to allow anyone in the freight elevator.  Car owners usually pick up and drop their car in a designated area at the entrance of the garage. Then the staff takes care of taking them in and out of their respective parking spaces using the freight elevators.

After the accident happened, The Department of Buildings filed a complaint requesting an investigation.

The luxury garage was one the first “condominiums for cars” in New York State with more than 100 parking spaces. The actual price of a parking space there is estimated at $300,000.  The initial price for a parking space at the garage when it opened in 1986 was $29,000. At the time it was already considered a very high price. It went up over the years as Park Slope  developed into a trendy neighborhood.  It recently shot up after another similar condominium garage located nearby closed.

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A few days after a DOI investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about faulty elevators that killed a resident and injured another, the NYC Housing Authority announced that Ken Buny, the head of the elevator division was fired. Five NYCHA employees who failed to communicate that the elevators were malfunctioning were also reassigned. They are all facing disciplinary charges that could also result in firing. (Read more in the NY Daily News)

The investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about the faulty elevator before the fatal accident happened but because of a communications  breakdown nobody went to fix it.  On December 24 2015, the NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center (“CCC”) received a phone call from a resident at the  NYCHA’s Boston Road Plaza senior building in the Bronx to inform them about a very dangerous malfunctioning elevator. NYCHA didn’t take immediate action to put the elevator out of service. An hour and half  later, 84 year old Olegario Pabon was critically injured when the elevator drifted upward as he was trying to get in. He died 3 days later from his injuries.  The investigation also found that the NYCHA senior management learned about the accident four days later. Another man was seriously injured in a similar accident that happened in another NYCHA building less than a month before.

In both accidents, the DOI found that brake monitors that should have automatically shut down the elevators were not functioning. After this discovery the DOI checked the 1,080 NYCHA elevators equipped with brake monitors and found that 80 (more than 7%) of them were not functioning.

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Coney Island HousesAn elevator mechanic died in an elevator accident in New York City on Friday. The accident happened at the Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn, a public housing development belonging to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).   54 year old Igor Begun, was working in the elevator machine room of the building located at 2926 W. 25th St when he was apparently electrocuted to death.

NYPD and NYCHA are still investigating the causes of the fatal accident. The report from the medical examiner will provide more explanation on the exact cause of the death.

Igor Begun was alone when the accident happened. Another elevator worker who was doing some maintenance work in the lobby found him unconscious in the elevator machine room. He was later pronounced dead.

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A construction worker suffered critical injury in a ladder accident in New York.  The accident happened on a construction site located on W. 17th Street near Sixth Ave in the Flatiron district in Manhattan. The hard hat was standing on a ladder, installing sheet rock on a ceiling frame when the accident happened. The worker who was not wearing a harness fell 50 feet down an elevator shaft and was impaled on steel rebar. The pieces of rebar pierced his abdomen, back, thigh, buttock and groin. Flagrant construction site safety violations are to blame for the accident. According to a primary investigation by the New York City Department of Buildings, the hard hat was not wearing a mandatory security harness. Adding to that, the elevator shaft wasn’t covered and there were no orange safety caps on the top of the rebar. This is the reason it is so important to fight against any changes in Section 240(1) of the New York State Labor Law which hold owners, general contractors and others liable for injures resulting from a lack of safety devices in height related accidents.

The construction site has a history of unsafe working conditions. The owner and developer, 34 17th Street Project LLC, was fined last August for “failure to maintain the building in a code complaint manner” and  unsafe or improper use of elevator or hoisting equipment at the same location. The violation indicated that the hoistway doors wer not secured “causing an immediate hazard that could cause someone to fall down the shaftway”.  In November nothing had changed and 34 17th Street Project LLC was fined for “failing to certify correction of an immediately hazardous violation”.

New Empire Builder Corp, the general contractor who is managing the site also has a history of violations. In 2014 OSHA inspectors responded to a complaint at 286 Spring Street, New York, NY. They found hard hats working in extremely unsafe conditions.  Some workers were standings on scaffolding resting on bricks. A worker was standing 10 feet above ground on a scaffold with no fall safety equipment while raising material on a pulley. Furthermore other workers were at risk of being electrocuted while using an ungrounded electric cement mixer. The contractor was fined  $19,600.

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Brown25 year old Stephen Hewett Brown was killed by a malfunctioning elevator in New York seconds after he saved a mother from being killed herself. New Yorkers moved by the terrible accident helped the family raise almost $14,000 for his funeral. On New Year’s Eve, Brown was in an elevator at 131 Broome on his way to a party on the 25th floor of the building. When the elevator reached the third floor, 43 year old Erude Sanchez stepped out to exit. At the same time the elevator started moving down. Brown immediately understood what happened and pushed the mother into the hallway, protecting her from injury and maybe death. Unfortunately seconds after he pushed the woman to safety he was pinned between the elevator’s roof and the third floor entrance. According to the 10 witnesses who were also trapped in the car, the elevator doors kept opening and closing on him when he was screaming that he couldn’t breath.

According to the New York City Department of Building records, the elevator at 131 Broom Street was defective at the time of the accident. The building had 3 open violations for failure to correct defects in the elevator going back to 2012. Last August, the owner of the building, Grand Street Guild East HDFC, received two Environmental Control Board Violations for failure to maintain the elevator in a code complaint manner. the hearing on that case was schedule the same day of the fatal elevator accident.

Dashia Impaeriali who was the president of the building tenants association from 2006 to 2011 told the NY Daily news that she wasn’t surprised by the accident. She explained that the elevator would sometimes jump several floors and go up and down without reason.

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A 37 year old man died in an elevator accident at the Espoir Building (see picture) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn early this morning. The victim was in the elevator with 14 people. A video depicts the elevator stopping well above the lobby floor. The door opened and the man, identified as Eran Modan was attempting to climb out when the elevator suddenly fell, trapping his upper body between the floor and the top of the cab. His roommate was then able to escape the elevator through a hatch in the bottom. She tried to resuscitate him but the man died in the lobby shortly after EMS arrived.

The building has a history of elevator problems according to the roommate. The Espoir apartment complex received four elevator violations since 2013.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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A construction worker died after he fell down an elevator shaft in New York. The accident happened yesterday at the beginning of the afternoon at the construction site of a future hotel located at 577 9th Avenue near 41st Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan.

According to DNA Info the construction worker  was not wearing a harness at the time of the accident. He was working on the fourth floor near the elevator shaft which, at the time, was just a hole that extended all the way to the ground. He fell in and landed on his back. The man who was 30 years old was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.

A few months ago the general contractor for the construction site, BRF Construction Corp, was fined for failing to secure the site after a construction worker was spotted on a 15 to 20 foot wall without a harness. BRF employed non union workers.