Yes, you can sue if you were injured in an elevator.
People can sustain severe injuries when elevators malfunction. Your life could change in a moment because of someone’s carelessness. Your injuries could cause lasting pain and impairment that prevent you from working to support yourself or enjoying your life.
How Injuries Happen in Elevators
An elevator cab is a small, confined space, and there are many ways that you can sustain an injury when using one. Here are a few examples of the ways a person can get hurt in an elevator:
- A slip and fall when entering or exiting the elevator.
- Back injuries or paralysis from overcrowded elevator cabs.
- An intentional act like an assault or horseplay.
- Burns or electrocution from electrical or circuit failures in the cab.
- Crushed hands, arms, feet, or legs when the elevator doors close suddenly.
- Severe or fatal injuries when the cab crashes to the bottom of the elevator shaft from a broken cable or pulley system.
- Head or neck injuries from the elevator suddenly stopping or moving unexpectedly.
- Broken bones or head injuries from stumbling when the cab does not align at the same level as the floor of the building.
- Catastrophic or fatal injuries from falling or crushing when passengers climb out of the cab after it gets stuck between floors.
- Severe or fatal injuries from falling to the bottom of the elevator shaft because the elevator is not present when the doors open.
Who You Can Sue for Injuries from an Elevator Accident
The specific facts of your case will determine who can be liable for your injuries. Sometimes, multiple acts combine to cause an accident. In those situations, we can sue more than one party. Some of the common defendants in these cases are:
- Building owners who fail to take reasonable steps to provide reliable, safe elevator systems for tenants and visitors to the building.
- Elevator makers who manufacture elevators or components with defects of design or assembly.
- Management companies who do not perform their duty of making sure that the elevators work correctly.
- Maintenance and installation companies, if their carelessness or incompetence caused or contributed to the accident.
- Anyone else who caused your injury through an intentional act or negligence, like an assault or horseplay.
The Elements of Negligence in Elevator Accident Cases
We must prove all three of these factors to hold someone responsible for your losses because of negligence:
- Duty of care. The defendant (person we sue) must have had a legal duty of care toward you. Let’s say that the management company for the commercial building is the defendant. The company had a duty to take reasonable measures to keep the elevators in safe working condition.
- Breach of the duty of care. When someone fails to live up to the standard of a legal duty of care, it is negligence. The management company billed the building owner for professional elevator inspections but used a handyman instead. The handyman did not have the necessary training or experience with elevator systems to perform an adequate inspection. Knowingly cutting corners on safety issues is negligence.
- Causation. The negligence must be the thing that caused the accident that hurt you. Because of the shoddy inspection, wear and tear in the elevator door mechanism went undiscovered until the accident happened. When a visitor to the building entered the elevator, the doors closed suddenly and crushed the person’s arm and shoulder. The negligence caused the malfunction that injured the person riding the elevator.
Damages in Elevator Accidents
Elevator accidents can cause broken bones, burns, electrocution, disfigurement, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or brain damage, spinal cord injury, loss of limb, and other types of harm.
The types of damages available in an injury claim often include one or more of the following:
- Lost income, for the wages, salary, average tips, self-employment, and other income you lost because of the accident and time needed to recuperate.
- Medical expenses to treat your injuries, like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, physicians, prescription drugs, diagnostic testing, rehabilitation facility, and physical therapy.
- Equipment and modifications, like prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, adapted vehicles, home modifications.
- Long-term care, if you need ongoing assistance with personal care and medical treatment because of the harm you suffered.
- Pain and suffering to compensate you for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced.
- Other intangible losses, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, depression and anxiety, and your spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The accident injury team at S. Burke Law provides personal, hands-on care for our clients. We will work hard to help you get all the compensation you deserve so that you can rebuild your life. We can perform a case evaluation at no cost to you.
Call us today at 404-842-7838 to get started.