Elevator Accident Lawyer
An elevator accident may seem like a rare occurrence, but these incidents are actually quite common. According to the most recent data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elevator and escalator incidents seriously injure around 17,000 people in the U.S. each year. That’s more than 1,400 injuries per month. Our skilled elevator accident lawyers help people who have been injured in elevator-related accidents.
What Qualifies as an Elevator?
In general, an elevator is defined as a car or cage within a building that is primarily used to transport people and/or items vertically. The three types of elevators include manual (operated by an attendant), automatic (no attendant), and escalators. Escalators are not technically elevators; however, they are typically involved with the same types of liability cases and fall under most elevator laws.
What are Common Causes of Elevator Accidents?
One of the most important aspects of your case is determining why the elevator accident occurred.
Common causes of elevator accidents and injuries are:
Defective Doors: The doors can cause injuries if they close too quickly, or if the sensors fail to detect a passenger in the doorway. This can result in cuts, bruises, or broken limbs.
Missed Levels: Occasionally a malfunction can cause the elevator to open in the middle of a floor, instead of level with the walkway. Passengers may be injured attempting to climb out of the elevator and suffer cuts, broken bones, or bruises.
Electric Shock: An electrical wiring malfunction may result in passengers being shocked by exposed wires or improperly wired elevators.
Falling or Moving Too Fast: A counterweight malfunction or computer failure can cause the elevator to move far too quickly or fall several floors. This may result in broken bones, head injuries, internal injuries, and spinal damage.
Falls into Elevator Shafts: Rarely, an elevator door may open when no elevator is present in the shaft. An unsuspecting passenger may step into the shaft and fall many floors. This can result in broken bones, head injuries, or even death.
What are Common Types of Elevator Accident Injuries?
Injuries in elevators may range from minor to life-threatening depending on the type of elevator accident. Some of the typical elevator accident injuries include:
Common elevator accident fractures often affect the lower legs and femurs, arms, wrists, hips, and ribs. Facial or skull injuries and spine fractures are common when passengers hit their heads or collide with the wall.
Cuts and Bruises
Severe bruises, lacerations, or cuts are quite common in an elevator accident. Cuts and bruises are wounds that go through the skin to the fat tissue and are typically caused by a sharp object. Additionally, you can suffer scrapes, abrasions, scratches, and floor burns. These are usually surface wounds that don’t extend through the skin.
Spinal Cord and Back Injuries
Another common type of injury seen in elevator accidents is back or spinal cord injuries. Damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal can cause severe life-changing injuries. These injuries often result in long-term changes to your mental capacity, mobility, and sensation.
Crush injuries can occur when force or pressure is put on any part of your body. In an elevator accident, crush injuries arise when a part of your body is squeezed between two parts of the elevator system. This can cause bleeding, fractures, laceration, nerve injuries, and even loss of a limb.
An elevator accident could also result in the death of a loved one. If your loved one dies in an elevator accident due to the misconduct or negligence of another party, you can sue for wrongful death. This type of lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivors for losses such as lost companionship, lost wages, funeral expenses, and others.
What are the Common Types of Legal Claims in an Elevator Accident?
The type of legal claim you may be able to file after an elevator or escalator accident depends on what and who caused the incident. If your elevator accident lawyer investigates the situation and determines there is evidence of a design, manufacturing, or warning defect, then you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of that elevator or escalator. If the defect was in one specific part, then you may have a defective product claim against that part’s specific manufacturer. These types of cases usually fall under three categories: negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.
If the escalator or elevator you were traveling in was not properly inspected or maintained, then you may have a premises liability claim against the owner, tenant, or manager of that property. These claims can become complicated. The duty a landowner owes you depends on your status on the land, such as if you were a trespasser, licensee, or invitee. An experienced elevator accident lawyer can review your status on the property, explain the owner’s duty of care toward you, and determine whether the owner violated the applicable duty of care.
Who are Common Defendants in Elevator Accident Cases?
The liable parties in an elevator accident lawsuit vary depending on the specific facts of your case. However, the three most common responsible parties in these types of accidents include:
Building owner and lessees: Owners of buildings and their tenants must use reasonable care in maintaining their property and its elevators, to ensure they are in good working order. When there are safety issues with the elevators, these parties must warn guests of impending dangers. If they fail to inspect or maintain the elevators or notify riders of hazards, they could be liable for injuries and losses resulting from elevator accidents.
Maintenance companies: Owners and lessees usually contract the services of maintenance companies to perform regular inspections of the elevator, undertake maintenance, or make necessary repairs. When these maintenance companies are negligent in fulfilling their duties, they can be held liable for elevator accident injuries.
Manufacturer or seller: If an accident was caused by an elevator design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer or seller may be held liable. The law requires them to compensate victims in a product liability lawsuit if the product is deemed to be unreasonably dangerous.
How Much is my Elevator Accident Case Worth?
If you suffered injuries in an elevator accident, you may be eligible to recover a wide range of both economic and non-economic damages. These damages may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Medical Bills: Emergency care, surgeries, prescription drugs, and doctor appointments.
Lost Wages: Recovery may include current and future lost wages caused by your injuries.
Rehabilitation Costs: If you require physical therapy or similar care to recover from your injuries, you may recover those costs.
Long-term Care Costs: If you are severely injured and unable to perform daily tasks you may be able to recover the costs of nursing home care or other long-term medical care.
Mental Health Recovery Costs: If you were traumatized by the accident, you may be able to recover the cost of therapy or other mental health services.
Lost Enjoyment of Life: If your injuries are permanent, you may be able to recover damages related to the loss of pleasure in your life or future pain/suffering.
What is the Statue of Limitations for an Elevator Accident?
State law restricts the amount of time you have to recover damages in any personal injury lawsuit, including elevator accidents.
Some states have a four-year statute of limitations from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit to recover damages caused by your injuries. Whereas others only have a two-year statute of limitations. If you have any questions about the statute of limitations in your case, you should immediately consult a qualified elevator accident lawyer. As you may know, evidence can disappear over time, making it harder to prove your case. If you have suffered elevator accident injuries, do not wait!
What are the Benefits of an Elevator Accident Lawyer?
A skilled elevator accident lawyer can help you maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries.
An experienced elevator accident lawyer manages a case from the first moment they take it on. This allows you to focus on your health and healing.
We provide free, no obligation, case evaluations. As a result, you can learn your legal options without spending a dime.
Also keep in mind that any conversations you have with a lawyer are protected by the attorney-client relationship. A lawyer cannot disclose any of your information without first gaining your consent.
If you were injured in an elevator accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to hold the liable party responsible for your damages. An elevator accident lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure the insurance company negotiates in good faith.
Contact one of our skilled elevator accident lawyers from the G Law Group, P.A. at 305-468-7468 to discuss the details of your case. You can also schedule a free consultation by clicking the link below.