Elevator Accident Lawyers
Although they may not be as prevalent as construction site or work-related accidents, elevator accidents are more common than people may think. For instance, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that over 11,000 people were involved in elevator accidents in 2002. It also reported that elevators and escalators kill approximately 30 people per year and injure over 17,000. These accidents can arise from any number of malfunctions or careless maintenance, and injuries can result from any of the following:
- Mechanical malfunction of the pulley system allowing the elevator to free fall down the shaft
- Improper leveling that keeps the elevator from lining up properly with the floor
- Falls resulting from an exposed elevator shaft
- Asphyxiation from being trapped inside an elevator too long
- Accidental electrocution due to faulty wiring
- Becoming trapped between the elevator car and side wall
Elevators must pass State inspections before they are put into use, but elevator systems are not subject to Federal regulations or CPSC supervision like other products. This increases the potential for serious injuries to elevator passengers and maintenance providers. In fact, elevator installers and repair crews rank fifth in the number of work-related deaths out of all construction-related jobs.
Who is Responsible for Elevator Accidents?
This will depend on the specifics of the elevator accident, however many different parties could be held liable in court for an elevator accident. If the cause was poor maintenance, the owner or service company responsible for maintaining it could be responsible. If the elevator malfunctioned due to a product defect, the manufacturer could be held liable. The most important factor in determining fault is whether the defendant acted negligently. This means that the defendant failed to act with the prudence that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances to prevent the incident.
What to Do if You’ve Been in an Elevator Accident
You should contact the police and an elevator accident lawyer immediately in order to preserve the evidence at the accident scene and discuss your legal rights. An accurate inspection will need to be performed and photographs will need to be taken of the elevator, it’s components and the elevator’s control room. If severe injury or death has resulted from an elevator accident, it’s likely that qualified experts will need to be called in to investigate the scene. These experts could include:
- An elevator engineer
- An elevator safety expert
- A professional building management expert
- A fire, rescue or evacuation expert
Since lawsuits involving elevators are extremely technical and equipment specific, you will want to contact an attorney who specializes in elevator accident-related lawsuits. The lawsuit may be a defective product or negligence claim that should be handled by an experienced elevator accident lawyer.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
When elevator accidents result in injury or death, the victim and his or her family can sue the responsible party for medical costs, current and lost wages and pain and suffering. In order to win these damages or settle the case out of court, it must be proved that the responsible party acted negligently.
Don't let your elevator injury claim expire. Contact an experienced accident attorney in near you to evaluate your claim.