According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, elevators and escalators kill about 30 persons and seriously injure about 17,000 people each year. Elevators cause almost 90% of the deaths and 60% of the injuries. Almost half of the annual deaths are accounted to elevator service personnel working with installing, repairing, and maintaining elevators.
Elevator accidents may be the result of several malfunctions / or improper maintenance. What commonly causes these elevator accidents are:
• Mechanical breakdown or faulty pulley system which allows the elevator to fall loose down the elevator car passage
• Uncovered elevator shafts which causes falls
• Elevator’s system with faulty wiring may cause accidental electrocution
• Improper elevator controller wiring
• Elevator repair and maintenance was performed by an unqualified and untrained personnel
• Unbalanced leveling which results to failure of elevator to line up as it should with the floor
Being involved in an elevator accident could entail severe and painful injuries. Some of them are so severe that they cause permanent damage, and even lost of life. These include:
• Back and neck injuries
• Broken bones
• Head injury
Many of the elevator-related deaths and injuries could have been prevented if adequate maintenance and inspection procedures had been practiced in the involved buildings. If this is the case, there will be no grounds for a victim to file for a lawsuit.
Otherwise, if a victim can prove that a party is liable, he/she can go to court. He/she may hire an elevator accident lawyer to help him/her confront with the issues of going to litigation
Elevator accident lawsuits can involve different areas of law. For an instance, when an elevator malfunctions due to defect of manufacture, liability would be determined under product liability law. When an accident happens due to the negligence of the establishment owner who failed to provide reasonable care, liability would be determined under premise liability law.
Liability for elevator accidents varies depending on the particularities of the accident per se. There are different parties that could be held legally responsible in court. The proprietor or landowner may be held liable if he/she acted with negligence. Manufacturers could also be held liable if the accident was due to their defective mechanism.
Elevator claims require an understanding of how the components of elevators interrelate, such as the elevator cab, the cables, the design, the electrical system, the brakes, the controller and sensors, and the safety stops. Knowledge of what went wrong with the elevator will help determine what party is liable and what grounds a victim shall sue.
With respect to these issues, it is highly advised that elevator accident victims hire their respective lawyers in order to understand the proper steps to perform in pursuing a case against the responsible parties. Elevator accident lawyers who are skilled in handling this particular legal concern will make sure that their sustained injuries and damages will be properly compensated.
Though riding an elevator can be such a simple task, unexpected circumstances can still happen within its confined space. So in order for elevator passengers to avoid being a victim of an accident, they must take safety precautions on their own. Here are some tips:
• Never use an elevator during a fire
• Press the Emergency phone button if there is a problem or the elevator is stuck
• In case of an emergency, tell the rescue personnel the elevator location and the floor
• Do not try to open elevator doors that are stuck
• Try to remain calm
• Check if the elevator is properly leveled with the floor