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Premises liability lawsuit might follow death in elevator car

Being trapped in an elevator is likely one of the subconscious fears of many people. Tourists or residents of Hawaii may wonder about the safety regulations related to elevators in multi-story buildings. While cities may have different codes, most will require elevators to have alert systems operational for emergencies that may include a switch to activate an alarm along with an intercom or phone system. Further requirements may include connecting the alarm to the building management, police or fire department.

If only these measures were in place, the death of an 82-year-old grandfather in another state might have been prevented. On July 5, the man -- who started showing signs of dementia and occasional disorientation -- left a nursing home on an errand and never returned. Almost a month later, on Aug. 2, the decomposed body of the beloved grandfather was discovered in an unused elevator in a parking garage of an apartment building no more than a mile away from the nursing home.

When and why he landed in the elevator is still under investigation. Reportedly, the elevator was in working order, but not used for some time due to a construction project. Upon investigation, an electronics inspection revealed that, on July 6, he pushed the emergency button twice within less than 10 minutes. Although the fire department received no alert, the building's management company did and sent workers to investigate. However, they only checked the two elevators that were in use at the time.

When residents of the building reported a bad odor in the area of the parking garage, maintenance workers came upon the remains of the man in the elevator. This is an incomprehensible tragedy that is arguably grounds for a lawsuit against the management company of the building in which the man lost his life. Victims of the negligence of property owners in Hawaii are free to pursue recovery of damages by filing premises liability lawsuits. This is a complicated field of the law, and the process may be eased if navigated by an experienced attorney.

Source:, "Grandfather found dead in elevator called for help twice", Samantha Schmidt, Aug. 11, 2017

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