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Elevator Accidents on Construction Sites

Elevators were invented in the 1800s to protect industrial laborers. Since then, the elevator has become a staple of big buildings and city-living over the globe. Nowhere is this truer than New York City, home to both the world’s oldest as well as the largest number of elevators of any city in North America.

This combination highlights the importance of elevators in the New York workforce and community. Too often, however, safety concerns go unresolved and lead to increased dangers for elevator mechanics, construction workers, and others. In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), elevator accidents account for more than 17,000 injuries and dozens of deaths each year. And in NYC, where 84,000 elevators provide daily use to the masses (with more on the way), no one is at greater risk of suffering an elevator-related injury than the city construction worker.

This is why if you or a loved one works in construction, is an elevator mechanic, or has been injured in an elevator-related accident in New York, knowing your rights is incredibly important. They exist for your protection, to keep you and your family from losing the money and benefits you are entitled to. In short, the law is on your side — but you must take action before it’s too late.

Your future is too important to gamble with. If you spend any amount of time around NYC elevators, be proactive; prepare yourself and know your rights. Always photograph any accident scene and never give a statement without consulting your attorney.

At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, we are trained professionals experienced in representing individuals harmed in elevator accidents. Please call and speak with one of our personal injury attorneys today. It would be our honor and privilege to take you through the legal process so that you will know exactly what to expect in the event of an elevator-related accident.

Take action now. Call 1-800-966-4999. It won’t cost you a thing and may save you tomorrow.

For more on elevator accidents, NYC construction workers’ rights, and practical steps you can take in order to protect yourself and your family, please continue reading.

Take action today and call us now at 1-800-966-4999.

Common causes of elevator accidents on construction sites

Elevator accidents can occur at any time for any number of reasons. On construction sites in NYC, common causes include but are not limited to:

1.) Falling workers – Whether due to a trip, slip, or something else, these accidents commonly involve construction workers falling from any height down open elevator shafts.

2.) Falling Objects – Workers who are devastatingly injured due to a tool, elevator part, or other object falling down an unprotected elevator shaft.

3.) Electric or mechanical issues – Bad wiring, faulty machinery, power outages, and larger infrastructural issues can all trigger elevator accidents that can be lethal to construction workers on-site.

4.) Unsafe equipment – If a worker is not given the right equipment for a job, or if an elevator is missing safety equipment or has been improperly maintained, it can prove disastrous in both the short and long term.

5.) Inadequate warning signs – Every elevator in NYC that is under construction, out-of-order, or just isn’t up to code, is a danger — especially if it is not properly signaled by the required signs, posters, caution tape, and other alert methods.

If for any reason you have been injured in an elevator-related accident on a NYC construction site, please know: You are protected by the law!

Labor Law § 240(1): “A person employing or directing another to perform labor of any kind… on a building or structure shall furnish… devices which shall be so constructed, placed, and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed or directed.”

Labor Law § 240(1) protects workers and their families from injuries on the job.

Any violation of Labor Law § 240(1) that leads to injury results in the owner and contractor (and their insurance carriers) being absolutely liable for injuries and damages caused. Absolute liability means that the plaintiff (the injured employee) does not have to prove negligence on the part of the defendant (the owner or contractor). In short: What matters is that an injury occurred when it shouldn’t have, and so, even if the injured worker may have been partially at fault, the responsible party (i.e. the owner of the building and contractor) should still be held 100% liable.

Accident-related injuries and losses

With any elevator accident, the physical pain and suffering an injured worker may experience can be extensive.
Physical injuries can include but are not limited to:

Broken bones

E.g. fractures of the legs, arms, shoulders, hips, ankles.

Head trauma

E.g. brain injury, skull fractures, brain hemorrhaging, concussion.


Strangulation, suffocation

Full or partial paralysis

External cuts, internal bleeding


Additionally, injuries that are not readily apparent at the time of the accident can include: tears, strains and sprains, herniated and bulging discs, and nerve damage that can worsen over time until surgery is required.

In addition to physical injuries, emotional suffering often occurs in the aftermath of construction-related accidents. When elevators are involved, conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Acute stress disorder (ASD)
  • Alteration in mental states (e.g. mood swings, disorientation, sudden outbursts)
  • Depression

Unfortunately many injured persons’ losses do not stop there, as economic losses can also occur.  Examples include:

  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of pension, annuity, and other retirement benefits
  • Loss of health and social security benefits

Whether or not active construction is involved, elevator accidents are a serious matter that require serious attention. If you or someone you love has been injured by or because of an elevator or its equipment, the last thing you need is bills piling up. Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Protect your financial future right away by calling Schwartzapfel® Lawyers today.

What to do in the event of an elevator accident on a construction site

If injured in an elevator fall or by or because of elevator machinery, receiving proper medical care is critical for your physical and mental recovery. As such, first and foremost: get help. If you can, visit the emergency room or see your doctor right away. Because whether or not you believe you need immediate assistance, when it comes to elevator-related injuries, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Next, one of the best ways to protect you and your family’s financial future is to secure expert legal representation. On a related note: Please do not give statements to anyone — including insurance agents — without first speaking to your lawyer. Why? Because anything you say will be misconstrued and used against you. Furthermore, it is imperative that you not accept any form of settlement, monetary or otherwise.

No matter how convincing they may sound, these men and women are not your ally. Insurance companies exist to make profits for their shareholders. What is best for them is to pay for as little as possible. You can prevent this from happening by politely but firmly telling them you have retained a personal injury attorney and that you cannot speak to them.

To better understand your options in the aftermath of an elevator-related accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney today.
Call 1-800-966-4999.

Workers’ rights in the event of a elevator accident on a
NYC construction site

Did you know that construction workers have special rights and protections offered to them by the law? That’s right, they do — especially in NYC!

  • Pursuant to New York’s labor laws, building owners and contractors are responsible for providing “safe working conditions and safe places to work,” (New York State Department of Labor: § 23-1.3).
  • Moreover, construction workers in New York and NYC must be provided with sufficient safety devices to perform their jobs, including, but not limited to, work materials and a controlled working environment. Failure to comply on any level, and the responsible party is liable for the construction worker’s sustained losses and harms.

What does this mean? In essence, if you are injured in an elevator-related accident in New York, if the accident is in any way due to the building owners’, contractors’, or your employers’ failure to provide a safe work environment, they are at fault and you may be legally entitled to compensation.

In addition to these protections, with the signing of the Elevator Safety Act in January 2020, New York State now “requires all individuals engaged in the design, construction, inspection, maintenance and repair of elevators or other automated people moving conveyances to be licensed by New York State.” This, along with the creation of the New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Advisory Board, aims to “establish recommendations for elevator inspections, examinations to satisfy licensing requirements, and enforcement to ensure compliance and promote public safety.”


However unique your case, you will want someone who specializes in construction-related injuries, has a proven track record in New York City, and who will fight for you every step of the way. In short: You want the best personal injury representation available.

For more than thirty-five years, Schwartzapfel® Lawyers has successfully helped thousands of clients get the money and benefits they are entitled to. We are proud of our hundreds of 5-star Google Reviews and 99% client satisfaction record, and we have every incentive to get you the largest settlement or verdict possible, as quickly as possible, because if we don’t win your case you owe us nothing.

So if you or a loved one works in construction or has been injured in an elevator-related accident in NYC, take action today and call us now at 1-800-966-4999.

To learn more about your rights and how to protect them, please visit our website or call 1-800-966-4999 today.


Life-changing accidents. Life-saving results.

Harry Roman

After an accident on a job site, his passion and livelihood was taken away in a matter of seconds. Schwartzapfel® Lawyers helped him get a second chance at life.

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Loyal for years in a New York union, Craig McKee worked hard to provide for his family. Once he was injured, his union turned their backs on him and he had to fight for what is right.

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Once he fell, shattered his wrist and blew out his back, his general contractor refused to help. He needed a team to fight for him. He needed Schwartzapfel® Lawyers.

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If you have sustained an injury, you likely have many questions. Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. can explain the legal process and help you get the money and benefits you’re entitled to.

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