Family to Receive $1 Million Settlement in Son’s Elevator Death

Family to Receive $1 Million Settlement in Son's Elevator DeathThe parents of an Ohio State University freshman who died in an elevator accident will receive a $1 million settlement from the university.

Andrew Polakowski allegedly died in 2006 when an overloaded dorm elevator got trapped between floors and then suddenly descended as he was trying to exit it, crushing him, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The family sued the university, claiming it was negligent in inspecting its elevators and overseeing their use.

According to The Associated Press, the elevator had 24 people onboard at the time of the incident, which exceeded its weight limit by more than 1,000 pounds. A state investigation by the Ohio Department of Commerce found that the elevator's brake had failed, and experts said that if the elevator was functioning properly, it should not have moved even if it was overloaded.

Ohio State then countersued several companies linked to the elevator's maintenance as third-party defendants, the Dispatch reports, and they will contribute more than half of the $1 million settlement. 

None of the defendants involved admitted liability, but the university has made substantial safety upgrades to its elevator system in the wake of the accident, including putting messages about elevator safety inside elevators.