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Death by elevator a reminder that premises dangers many

When we hear about someone suffering a personal injury as a result of negligent property maintenance it often seems to involve a slip and fall situation. Taking an elevator isn't likely to be high on the list of the ways we think we could get hurt in the environment around us, especially in the Montgomery County and Washington areas, where buildings tend to be on the short side. But it can happen.

Making sure that the devices we use to get around in a building are safe is part of the responsibility of every property owner. If they fail in that duty, victims of personal injury or wrongful death have a right to be compensated so that they can get the care and support they need to recover their lives.

This subject is in the spotlight now as a result of a series of complaints that have been filed against a New York City elevator service company. In one of the cases, a Plaza Hotel housekeeper claims she broke bones in her foot when a freight elevator the company is responsible for she was on suddenly descended and then jerked to a stop.

In another, the company had allegedly finished servicing an elevator in a Manhattan tower when, hours later, it suddenly shot up. Apparently, a woman was just getting on board when this happened. She was pinned between the elevator and the shaft wall. She died.

In yet another case dating back to 2007, a man is claiming that he was injured when he stepped into an unguarded open elevator shaft. The good news is that he was on the ground floor. The bad news is that he still fell 20 feet to the concrete floor below.

These and other complaints have led to a whole string of lawsuits against the company. In response to several of the suits the service company has denied the allegations. It has sought to have some cases dismissed or it has countered that the injured plaintiff was at least partly to blame for what happened.

In the case of the woman who died last month, the company says only that it's cooperating with investigators.

Source: Bloomberg, "Plaza Injury Suit Latest Against Company Tied to Manhattan Elevator Death," David McLaughlin, Dec, 29, 2011

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