A woman who was seriously injured during a harrowing elevator ride won a $13 million jury award.Janice Beasley was in the elevator on the upper floors of a Florida high rise building in May 1999 when it began to plummet repeatedly from the 23rd floor down to the basement.
When the building was notified, it called on a mechanic with the building’s on-site elevator maintenance company. He tried to fix the problem, but instead of taking Beasley off the elevator, he left her in the malfunctioning car and sent it to the basement. That ended up making the elevator take a new series of plunges.
Beasley sued the building owner, Highwoods Properties, and the maintenance company, Schindler Elevator Corp., for her physical and psychological injuries.
“There is no doubt that Schindler grossly mishandled the response to the malfunction and failed to consider Mrs. Beasley’s safety as a priority,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Beasley.
Besides Beasley’s physical injuries that left her confined to a wheelchair for many years with partial paralysis of her leg, the jury heard evidence that she also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression and pseudo seizures.
The jury awarded the 54 year-old Beasley $13 million for her injuries.
While it’s rare for an elevator fall to be deadly, experts say it’s more common for people to be injured by elevator doors, and the best way to react during a falling elevator experience is to lie spread eagle on the floor holding your head in your arms. This position would distribute the force of impact across a wider area and reduce the likelihood of broken bones, although it might cause internal injuries.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.