In the building where customers shop at Bed Bath & Beyond and TJ Maxx in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, 22 people were injured when a freight elevator plunged three stories.
In an interview with CBS New York, one passenger of the elevator described the accident this way: “It was a free-fall from Great Adventure to be honest. If you ever go on that ride that’s what it was. We didn’t know when it was gonna stop. People got hurt. It was a hard landing.”
This hard landing caused the passengers to sustain head and neck injuries. Nine of the passengers suffered injuries that were classified as serious, but not life threatening.
After the incident, the New York City Buildings Department launched an investigation and found that the accident was caused by a defective elevator brake. The company that owns the building, CF 620 Owner One LLC, was issued a citation failing to properly maintain the elevator – forcing it to be closed until the needed repairs are completed. In addition, the company was also cited for illegally using the elevator because, although it is a freight elevator, it was being used by the company to transport passengers.
Despite the current violations, Tony Sclafani of the Department of Buildings told The New York Times that the elevator in question has had no violations for the last 15 years. In fact, the elevator had just been inspected late last year and no serious problems were found at that time.
Despite claims that the elevator involved in the recent accident was inspected in the past, the New York City Building Department’s investigation found that the crash was due to a defective brake. Those injured in the accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. The shopping patrons had a reasonable expectation that they would remain safe from injury while they were on the premises. The owners of the building and faulty elevator may be held liable for the injuries sustained due to the faulty brake which caused the accident and resulting injuries