A recent blog by Columbus Injuryboard Attorney Scott Smith highlights a terrible incident that occurred at Ohio State University college where a dormitory elevator defect resulted in the death of a college student when the elevator did not brake properly causing it to crash.
Andy Polakowski, attempted to exit the disabled open elevator door located in Stradley Hall when it fell crushing him to death between the opening of the door and the next floor.
University records suggest that complaints about elevators were commonplace at OSU in this dormitory and yet little if anything was done to address these concerns.
There are many dangers associated with the use of elevators ranging from operator abuse such as overloading to negligent maintenance and upkeep. Our experience in handling elevator injury claims have included cases involving defects in breaking mechanisms as well as the improper opening of elevator doors. According to the Non-Profit Risk Management Center:
Elevators have many moving parts that must be serviced on a regular basis to remain safe. The entity should have a regular maintenance schedule and a procedure to report malfunctions. Maintenance includes lubrication of moving parts, and repairing or replacing faulty or non-operating components.
It appears in this case that regular maintenance or at least proper maintenance was not performed and this was truly a foreseeable accident.
The wrongful death of this student is a tragedy which could and would have been prevented had the University took heed of the warnings it received to make appropriate and timely repairs. We can only hope that the message has been sent so no other families must suffer the loss suffered by the Polakowski family.