How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Zachary Your Own Question

Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 3927
Experience:  Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
17219180
Type Your Personal Injury Law Question Here...
Zachary is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

i was trapped in my buildings elevator for 3 hours after a

Resolved Question:

i was trapped in my building's elevator for 3 hours after a power failure. the emergency phone operator claimed she advised bldg management but mngmt said they were unaware i was in the elevator for 40 minutes until they heard me screaming and pounding on door. they knew the elevators were down but had no knowledge of anyone in them nor did anyone check. fire department was finally called easily 45 minutes later and spent 2 hours trying to get me out unsuccessfully. elevator technician was called a 2nd time. first time, he was called within ten minutes but then he claimed he was told the fire department was called and turned around (he lives approx 40 minutes from building). he returned 30 - 40 minutes later and i was out in 5 minutes. this was an extremely traumatic event for me. fortunately i was dog sitting and my dog was with me. i lost several friends in 2 world trade on 9/11 (i worked on the 105th floor for 5 yrs). many of my friends blew up in an elevator. i am bipolar/borderline personality disorder. i have issues with claustrophobia and panic attacks. i had two in the elevator. i had mngmt get my cell phone and call my boyfriend to come over so he could just be there so i could hear his voice. when i wasn't hysterical crying or having trouble breathing, i was able to be a great sport and very grateful for the firemen and their efforts. i asked them to please use a crow bar, a chain saw, an ax. they said it cost too much and they would get me out another way. when i did get out they apologized and advised 3 hours is a long time but the elevator is not set up like a standard one and they couldn't get it open. this is a brand new luxury building. i am so grateful for my apartment. i have one of the 7 low-income apartments as i am on disability for my illnesses which are very complicated. this incident has caused emotional chaos where there was finally a bit of peace. nightmares that had finally dissipated. thoughts that had been horrible memories. not sure i want the bad karma of going forward with a law suit; just wondering if i had one as my psychiatry and psychotherapy bills are going to increase.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds absolutely terrifying.

In California, mental anguish damages which would cover traumatic mental injuries such as this are only compensable in limited situations. The first is where those mental anguish damages are tied to a physical injury. In this case, there has not been a physical injury so this is not applicable.

The second is where there was a negligent infliction of emotional distress. The California Supreme Court has allowed plaintiffs to bring negligent infliction of emotional distress actions as "direct victims" in only three types of factual situations: (1) the negligent mishandling of corpses (Christensen v. Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 879 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 79, 820 P.2d 181]); (2) the negligent misdiagnosis of a disease that could potentially harm another (Molien v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1980) 27 Cal.3d 916, 923 [167 Cal.Rptr. 831, 616 P.2d 813]; and (3) the negligent breach of a duty arising out of a preexisting relationship (Burgess v. Superior Court (1992) 2 Cal.4th 1064, 1076 [9 Cal.Rptr.2d 615, 831 P.2d 1197]).

Unfortunately, your situation does not fall under any of these rules either.

Because the failure to get you out of the elevator was not intentional (only negligent) on the building owner's part and it did not cause any physical injury, this would be a very hard claim to recover on.

Please let me know if you have further questions on this matter.

-ZDN
Zachary, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 3927
Experience: Lead Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
Zachary and 9 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Infolawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    881
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    881
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    514
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    384
    I provide basic personal injury advice to my clients in my own practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    379
    I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    366
    20 years experience in personal injury law - both plaintiff and defense
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    361
    Personal Injury & Wrongful Death experience includes judgment for $10M & $3M settlement
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PI/PIExpert/2012-7-1_152453_Attorney.64x64.jpg Brandon, Esq.'s Avatar

    Brandon, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    347
    Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
 
 
 

Related Personal Injury Law Questions