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Lawsuit in elevator fatality ends with settlement

Georgia readers might take an interest in the following story of a settlement reached in the wrongful death case of a Texas woman who fell down an elevator shaft. The attorney for the woman's family announced on July 30 that the settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit had been reached. The claim was filed against the elevator company and the parent company of the hotel where the accident occurred.

The woman had been a housekeeper at a historic downtown San Antonio hotel. In December 2011, she was working at the hotel when an elevator arrived on the sixth floor where she was waiting. The woman turned around backwards to back her cart into the elevator, but the brake malfunctioned, and the car kept moving. The woman stepped into the open shaft and fell six stories.

A state inspector determined that the service elevator was faulty, and the state fined the elevator company on charges that the company's repair personnel were aware of the problem and did not fix it properly. The hotel was also fined on charges that it had not kept up with inspections as required. The case was set to go to trial; however, the family reached a confidential settlement.

The family in this story may have reached the settlement through negotiation. In some cases, lawyers for both sides will negotiate a settlement outside of court. This can spare surviving family members the stress of a long trial.

If negotiations do not work, the lawyer may request a jury trial. If the family chooses to have a personal injury lawyer represent them, he or she may prepare and present an argument on behalf of the family. If the evidence is compelling, such as it was in this case with the state inspector's report, a jury may award significant damages to the family.

Source:, "Settlement reached in elevator death", July 30, 2013

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