Most people think of elevators as safe ways to get from one floor of a building to another. However, this isn’t always the case. There are elevator accidents that result in severe injuries or even death every year in the United States.
“Incidents involving elevators and escalators kill about 30 and seriously injure about 17,000 people each year in the United States according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Elevators cause almost 90% of the deaths and 60% of the serious injuries.”
While many of these cases involved those who were working on or around the elevators, there are several injuries to people just using the elevators every year. These are called premises liability cases. The person or company who owns the property in which the elevator is located is responsible for accidents, injuries, and deaths on those elevators.
How Do Elevator Accidents Happen?
Generally, elevator accidents happen to workers who are doing something to repair or maintain the systems. However, elevator accidents to those who are within the cabin usually involve poorly maintained systems. Elevator doors are made to stop from closing if a body part or anything is in the way. If this malfunctions, however, a person could be severely injured and could even suffer from broken bones. Elevators use a cable system that is designed to be very safe. However, if the system is left in disrepair or is not installed properly, then the elevator could malfunction. While elevator free falls are not that common, they have happened. Another incident that could occur on elevators happens if the cabin is stopped or stuck for some reason. It is possible for someone with severe anxiety or other health conditions to suffer extensively. They could even be at risk of heart attack. These cases are still usually the responsibility of whoever owns the elevator.
Dealing with Liability
Many people don’t understand premises liability in cases such as elevator accidents. They feel it should be an open and shut case. However, there are many other legal details that need to be properly maneuvered. For example, negligence has to be proven in most cases. If he owner of the elevator knew that the system was malfunctioning and did nothing about repairing it, then they are considered negligent and therefore liable. It can be harder than you may think to prove liability in cases because the blame could fall on the owner of the property, the company hired to maintain the elevator, or the manufacturer of the elevator system. This is not the kind of case you want just any attorney handling. After all, the injury and expense could be extensive. Injuries from elevator accidents can range from bruises to broken bones to crush damage and even death. You could deal with high medical expenses and loss of wages when you cannot go to work. You could even be permanently disabled. If you or a loved one was a victim of an elevator accident, rest assured that you likely have legal recourse. You will need to choose a quality, experienced attorney, in order to get the best outcome possible from your case. You need legal representation that will work aggressively to defend your rights. Because premises liability cases can be difficult to navigate, only an experienced attorney should be chosen. When you have been the victim of an elevator accident, be sure to call the experienced attorneys at Thompson | Wedeking. We will be glad to offer you a free evaluation of your case.