A PCS member who was in a lift that plunged seven floors to the ground has received a substantial sum in compensation. 

The member, who works for the Metropolitan Police in London, suffered from neck and back pain as a result of the accident in May 2008 and has had to have treatment for an anxiety disorder after she was left with a fear of getting in lifts. 

The PCS member and her husband were using the lift to reach the 8th floor in the Victoria Building of New Scotland Yard in London when, having let out a passenger on the 7th floor, rather than continuing up to the 8th floor it plunged to the ground at speed.

Neck and Back Injuries caused by Accident

The impact caused neck and back injuries to the member. The lift’s intercom and alarm system failed and her husband was forced to pull open the lift doors slightly to call for help.

They were then stuck in the lift for 40 minutes before they were released. 

She was forced to take 13 weeks off work following the accident, undergoing both intensive physiotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy to get over her phobia of lifts.

She said: “Being stuck in a lift which is plummeting to the ground is most people’s worst nightmare. To then find that the alarm and intercom had failed and we were trapped inside the lift was terrifying. It wasn’t until we were released that I realised the extent of my injuries. Not only have I had to have treatment for severe back pain but I’ve also had to undergo counselling to get over a new fear of lifts.”

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident she contacted her trade union, the PCS, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. 

Thompsons argued the Metropolitan Police should have made sure the lift was safe for use and that the alarm system was working during an emergency.

The police admitted liability and settled the claim out of court. 

Andy Thomas, PCS negotiations officer, said: “This lift is used by hundreds of people every day and they trust that it is in good order. Sadly this employer failed to keep this lift in a fit state of repair.”

Kam Singh from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Lifts should be inspected and maintained to ensure they are safe for use. A failure to do that here meant not only that she was injured but neither the intercom nor the alarm system worked when it was needed most.”