Victims of runaway in elevator crash in Houston skyscraper blame inadequate maintenance, negligence

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by Charles Miller

Two women have sued Chevron U.S.A., Inc., after they were trapped and injured in an elevator in the company’s building in downtown Houston earlier this year. Leslie Williams and Victoria Martinez were on their way to the lobby to eat breakfast when they became trapped in the elevator car on the 39th floor. Williams used the elevator’s intercom to communicate with Chevron’s security. She was in contact with building security off and on for about the next forty minutes. Then, according to the women’s recently filed lawsuit, the elevator began slowing moving upwards.

The suit alleges that after moving slowly for only a few feet, the elevator “skyrocketed upward.” The elevator came to a crashing stop at the 50th floor. The crash threw Williams and Martinez into the ceiling of the elevator car. The women were then thrown to the ground and light fixtures and ceiling tiles fell on them, the suit alleges. The women pleaded through intercom with Chevron personnel to stop the elevator and were allegedly told, “Don’t worry. It won’t move anymore.”

Eventually, the Houston Fire Department helped the women escape. They had to climb a ladder out of the elevator, jump onto the top of another elevator and then climb out from there to safety. The lawsuit alleges that, while climbing to safety, a firefighter was overheard stating that a Chevron employee controlling the elevator saw the car moving upward and purposefully let it go so they could meet the trapped woman on an upper floor.

Martinez sustained injuries to her lower back and left leg and ankle. Williams suffered a fractured foot, closed head trauma and lumbosacral strain. In additional to considerable medical expenses, the women allege they have suffered a loss of earning capacity and been made to endure considerable emotional distress. Their lawsuit alleges that their injuries and damages resulted from Chevron’s negligent maintenance and operation of the elevator.

Elevators are complex machines and elevator lawsuits are complicated. To successfully bring a claim for injury or death, clients need an experienced, educated attorney on their side. They also need an attorney with the financial resources to take the case to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have tried literally hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more.

Our firm is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

If you have suffered a serious personal injury or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as the result of the actions of another person or entity, you may have a claim for compensation. Contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free legal consultation form on this page.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.