A woman was crushed to death in what rescuers are calling a freak elevator accident in a New York City office tower. Two other women were taken to a hospital.
The accident happened about 10 a.m. Wednesday in a 1920s building near Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan, the Associated Press reports.
The victim apparently took one step into an elevator on the 25-story building's first floor. That's when the elevator, with its doors still open, unexpectedly shot up to the second floor, the AP reports.
The woman's foot or leg somehow got caught on the door, and she was dragged into the elevator shaft where she was crushed between floors, firefighters said. Two other women who were inside the elevator and witnessed the incident were taken to a hospital for evaluation and released.
Police and fire crews are investigating the NYC elevator accident, and the victim's name has not been released.
It's not clear if the woman worked in the tower, home to advertising giant Young & Rubicam Brands, or if she was just visiting. But her status could play a role in any potential lawsuits brought by her survivors, if they try to hold the building's owners legally responsible for the woman's death.
If the woman was an invitee (invited to the tower for business purposes) or a licensee (there for personal reasons, with consent of the property owner), laws generally require a property owner to exercise reasonable care for visitors.
Property owners may be held liable if they knew of a dangerous condition on the premises and failed to either fix it or post warnings. The type of accident must also have been foreseeable.
There could also be possible claims to pursue against the elevator manufacturer -- for example, if a defect is found to have caused the NYC elevator accident. Potential legal actions will become more clear as the investigation continues.
- Woman Fatally Crushed in Midtown Elevator Accident (The New York Times)
- Woman dies after getting pinned between floors inside Midtown elevator (New York Post)
- New York City Personal Injury Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Freight Elevator Falls 3 Floors, New York Personal Injury Lawyer Says Elevator Accidents More Common Than People Think (FindLaw)