Although it has been thirteen years since the victim took an elevator ride that forever changed her life, a jury has awarded her $13 million for sustained injuries.
On May 2,1999, the woman was a passenger on an elevator of a high-rise office building in Jacksonville, Florida, when the elevator suddenly lurched, lost control and plummeted 23 floors. The victim, 41-years-old at the time, filed a lawsuit against the building’s owners, as well as Schindler Elevator Corporation, the company hired to maintain the elevator. (The victim sued in 2002 but due to “legal delays” the case did not reach a jury until very recently).
The generous award was not based on the extremely bumpy nature of the elevator ride. After the building was informed of the incident in the elevator, the mechanic who responded to the scene sent the woman’s elevator car from where it had come to rest, down to the basement, which caused additional start-and-stop falls. Why the mechanic did not remove the woman from the elevator as soon as he arrived, we will never know. Her attorney called the mechanic’s conduct “a gross mishandling of the situation.” Schindler Elevator Corporation was not responsible for injuries the victim may have sustained between floors 23 and floor 8, and did not cause the malfunction. However, the Schindler mechanic responded to the malfunction and rather than remove the victim, he sent her down to the basement in a second series of falls.
The 54-year-old woman is left with injuries, which include a paralyzed lower leg and left her confined to a wheelchair for several years. She also sustained permanent injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), “pseudo-seizures,” as well as RSD/CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), and she continues to experience extreme psychological injuries, including chronic depression, and conversion disorder.
Coverage of the victim’s case has not indicated whether or not she has been able to return to work and normal activities since her accident, but many people in her situation cannot. Living a normal life with PTSD and chronic depression is not easy and the psychological impact of this accident may forever affect her life.
This is a long time for the victim to have waited for justice to be served, but she finally was able to bring closure to what easily could have turned into a fatal elevator ride.
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