Elevator accidents occur more frequently than many people realize. Over 10,000 people are injured in elevator accidents every year in this country. Many are people working on maintaining or repairing them. However, others are simply passengers.
Most people ride in passenger or freight elevators in commercial properties and residential buildings. To remain compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), property owners are typically required to have elevators in buildings of at least three floors and 3,000 square feet per floor and sometimes in smaller buildings with public access, like office buildings or shopping centers.
What can happen when an elevator malfunctions?
If people could see the workings of an elevator, many would never get in. Elevators can suffer any number of malfunctions if they’re not manufactured properly or not adequately maintained. These include:
- A malfunction or defect in the pulley system that can cause an elevator car to drop rapidly and multiple floors
- A faulty door that can cause a person to step into a void as they enter or exit
- Faulty wiring or controls that can cause electrocution and/or entrapment
- Misalignment that causes the door not to line up with the floor when the elevator stops
- Doors closing on people as they enter or exit
The safety of elevators has been assigned to state and local governments. On the federal level, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has no authority over them or the parts that go into them. That means the public rarely finds out about defective parts or faulty elevators until a tragedy occurs.
Who’s at fault in an elevator accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury due to an elevator malfunction, you need to seek the compensation required for medical bills and other expenses and damages. Determining where the fault lies can be a difficult, frustrating endeavor.
The elevator or a parts manufacturer, the building owner, repair company or a government oversight agency could all bear some responsibility. An experienced attorney can help you hold the appropriate parties accountable.