Elevators are a time-saving and labor-saving invention. Instead of needing to take the stairs or use manual force to lift items, workers can take a brief break while a machine does all of the work.
There are numerous safety systems in place in elevators, from doors with sensors to emergency brakes that help stop an elevator that falls. Property owners and businesses alike have an obligation to maintain the elevators on their premises.
Despite safety regulations and design elements focused on protecting people, people do still get hurt in elevators, sometimes fatally. How common are elevator-related injuries in modern America?
Elevator injuries happen more often than you might think
Federal safety statistics indicate that over 17,000 people in the United States get hurt from elevators every year and roughly 30 people die annually.
While your risk of dying is relatively low, you could end up being one of those thousands of people who get hurt in an elevator malfunction or failure. An elevator’s sensors could fail, resulting in a crushing injury that could cause catastrophic damage to an extremity that requires an amputation to treat.
The elevator could fall far enough for the people inside to get hurt, even if the brakes kick in and prevent a fatal crash. You could suffer a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury when an elevator moves unexpectedly. Those injuries could mean thousands of dollars in hospital bills and could also affect your earning potential and employment.
What rights do you have after you get hurt on an elevator?
Someone probably has liability for the situation. Depending on the circumstances, there are multiple parties who may be liable for your elevator injuries.
If the business or property owners failed to inspect and maintain the elevator as required, they could be vulnerable to a premises liability claim for their negligence. On the other hand, if they had an inspection or recent maintenance performed, blame may lie with the elevator service company for the system failures. Sometimes, in new construction, manufacturers are construction companies could be liable for elevator malfunctions.
If you or a loved on is injured in an elevator accident, it’s important to understand the parties who could be responsible. An attorney with knowledge in premises liability claims is a good source for great information.