NYC Elevator Accidents: Everything You Need to Know

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Sunday, Oct 1, 2023

When you live and work in New York City, elevators are a part of everyday life. Most of the time, we step into an elevator car and take it for granted that we’ll arrive at our chosen floor with no issues - but this isn’t always the case.

Here, we’ll explore what happens when the elevators we rely on go wrong. We’ll explore the kinds of injuries that can occur when there’s an accident, the consequences for anyone unlucky enough to be in an elevator accident, and how an elevator accident attorney could help to make sure you get the care and compensation you deserve if you’re involved in an incident.

Elevators in New York

According to the latest report from the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), New York City is home to over 84,000 elevators and elevator devices. Not only does this figure mean the City has more elevators than any other city in North America, it also puts it close to having more elevators than any other city in the world.

Now, large numbers of elevators don’t necessarily mean there will be injuries - but it’s important to notice another part of the DOB report, where it states that “New York City has the world’s oldest population of elevators".

As complex, large pieces of machinery, elevators require ongoing maintenance - and this requirement increases as elevators age. For every responsible building owner and elevator service company, there is a small handful that chooses to sidestep or shortcut these maintenance routines - and the consequences can be devastating.

Some elevator accident injury causes

Often, a person’s biggest elevator fear involves the car suddenly plummeting down the shaft. While this is possible, it’s not the only kind of accident that can occur.

Take a look at some of the more common elevator accident types - along with some of the injuries that can be sustained as a result:

Defective doors

Elevators doors usually have sensors that stop them from closing if a person or object is in the way - but they don’t always work. As a result, elevator doors can strike people as they step into or out of the car or possibly even trap limbs or clothing.


If a lift is even slightly misaligned with the floor you step out on to it can represent a serious trip hazard. If the misalignment is significant, you may notice - but small misalignments can be especially dangerous when they create a hard-to-notice hazard.

Power failures

Most elevators rely on large electrical motors to move them. If there’s any inconsistency or complete breakdown of power to these motors, it can cause the elevator to stall completely, drop, or move at a dangerous speed.

Elevator shaft falls

Falls into the shaft that the elevator moves in can be some of the most serious cases that personal injury attorneys deal with. When doors are seriously misaligned or the car drops, open doors can suddenly become extreme hazards.

Although rare, even short falls into a shaft can cause serious injuries - including head injuries, neck injuries, back and spine damage, and broken limbs. In the most tragic cases, falls into shafts can cause fatal injuries.

Sudden stops

When an elevator suddenly stops, passengers can be subject to the same kinds of forces a person might experience in a car accident. There are numerous causes behind sudden stops - including overloading, malfunctioning parts, electronics failures, and detached cables.

If a car suddenly comes to a halt, passengers can hit the floor or walls at considerable speed and with significant force.

Over speed

Like sudden stops, over-speed faults in an elevator can be caused by a host of possible failures - including those involving the counterweights, cables, electronics, and control systems.

Again, an out of control elevator can result in passengers being thrown against the walls, doors, or floor of the car - often causing broken bones and trauma injuries.

Why elevator accident lawsuits are important

There are a significant number of reasons why pursuing an elevator accident lawsuit is important if you or a loved one has been in an accident.

  • Loss of earnings: For many of us, losing even a few days earnings can have huge financial consequences. When lost wages goes on for weeks, your way of life can be put at risk. When this simply is not your fault, a lawsuit can help to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
  • Medical bills: Medical treatment can quickly leave you out of pocket - and long stays in hospital can have a devastating impact on your long-term finances. A successful lawsuit will make sure your recovery is prioritized - without worrying about money.
  • Pain and distress: You should be able to ride an elevator without fear - so when you’re made to suffer pain and distress due to a building owner or maintenance company, you deserve to be compensated for that suffering.
  • Accountability: Businesses don’t learn from near misses - they learn when they’re held to account for their action or inaction. When injury victims make their voices heard, the people responsible for the injury are held to account. When a New York elevator accident lawyer speaks up for you, it’s likely that you’re helping to avoid future injuries.

How can an elevator accident lawyer help

There are often an overwhelming number of possible factors in any personal injury claim that relates to an elevator accident. Sometimes property owners are responsible - but in other cases, an elevator maintenance company or manufacturer is the party at fault.

What’s more, there’s a complicated system of city and state laws that regulate the installation, inspection, maintenance, and operation of elevators here in the City - so understanding exactly where corners have been cut is another in-depth task.

In short, pursuing an elevator accident claim can be complex - but the right elevator accident attorney will use their legal skills to get to the bottom of who is responsible. If you or a loved one has been involved in an elevator accident, speak to us about a free consultation today - we’ll help you pursue the justice you deserve.

Get the advice and guidance you and your family need

You do not have to go through this alone.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

We Have Recovered Over $2 Billion for Our Clients.

The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

Experience and a track record of results

Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

Contact us today for a free consultation

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.