Girl Injured in Elevator Accident Sues OKC Public Schools

[caption id="attachment_1897" align="alignleft" width="300"]Oklahoma personal injury lawyer Image Credit: Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman[/caption] In November 2011, three teenage girls were injured when they were trapped beneath an elevator at the Classen School for Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City. According to reports immediately following the incident, the three girls, including a sixth-grader and two seventh graders, were in good condition; however, the most seriously injured of the girls was hospitalized for two nights. Now, Ambri Tygard and her father are suing Oklahoma City Public schools for at least $100,000 in damages as a result of the incident. Reports say that Ambri Tygard and her two friends, Liz Smith and Savanna Gable, became trapped beneath the lowering elevator car when they entered a normally locked door into the elevator shaft. The girls at first tried to push on the car to prevent it from coming down on them. When they realized they could not stop the car, they laid down on the floor of the shaft. The girls suffered "minor injuries" according to Emergency Management Services Authority (EMSA) spokeswoman Lara O'Leary, and they were taken to OUMedical Center in good condition. Reports say Liz Smith injured her foot as she attempted to wedge her boot beneath the descending elevator, and Ambri Tygard suffered the worst injuries. She says a bar pressed into her hip and she injured two disks in her back, leaving one leg temporarily numb. Ambri Tygard's personal injury lawyer says that the girl has been left disfigured and in need of continuing medical treatment as a result of her injuries. The complaint alleges that the girl"

  • "has suffered permanent, progressive, and painful injuries"
  • "has suffered and will suffer physical and emotional pain and suffering"
  • "has suffered disfigurement"
  • "will sustain loss of enjoyment of life as a result of injuries and damages sustained”
Immediately following the incident, Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Karl Springer said the door to the elevator shaft should not have been open or unlocked, and that a work order about the door had been filed but not yet completed. Of the incident, he said, “If they're guilty of anything, they may be guilty of curiosity,” he said. “It's not their fault.” However, the district's response to the premises liability lawsuit claims that the plaintiff's injuries were solely the result of her negligence. “Plaintiff was comparatively negligent, and her comparative negligence is in sufficient percentage to reduce or bar any recovery herein.” The school district's attorneys say that the superintendent was speaking out of concern for the students, but that the district's position in the lawsuit response is unchanged from its original position. The lawsuit is pending in Oklahoma County District Court.