Many businesses and large properties depend on elevators to move their visitors from different floors of the building. Many of us step on and off these elevators without ever thinking twice. But, like any piece of mechanical equipment, elevators can malfunction causing injuries to passengers.
Many elevator accidents can cause great damage to the feet, ankles, knees, legs, hips and spine. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that over 10,000 individuals are injured in elevator accidents annually in the United States. Nearly 30 people die each year from faulty or malfunctioning elevators.
The most common causes of elevator accidents include:
- Overloading the car past the weight limit;
- Doors opening and closing too quickly;
- Stepping on or off an uneven surface between the elevator car and the floor;
- Mechanical issues;
- Walking into an open elevator shaft;
- Clothing or bags getting caught in the elevator door;
- Snapped cables causing the elevator to free fall; and
- Trapped passengers.
An elevator accident can be much more complicated than many other personal injury actions. This is because there may be several entities who are to blame. Often times, the elevator used by the injured person is located in a building that is owned by one group, possibly leased by another, and maintained or operated by an entirely separate party. Not to mention that the manufacturer, seller, and insurance companies are also different parties.
The question then becomes: Who is liable for your injuries after an elevator accident?
To be successful in receiving compensation after an elevator accident the plaintiff must prove:
- The injury suffered was a result of another party’s negligence.
- Any named defendants had custody or control of the elevator.
- The entity knew or should have known that the elevator was not operating properly or has had a history of problems that were not fixed.
If a plaintiff can prove a party’s negligence with sufficient evidence, then they may be compensated for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost of enjoyment of life and lost wages. However, if the plaintiff cannot prove negligence, custody and control and a known history of problems, then that entity will not be held liable for negligent maintenance, supervision, or operation of the elevator.
In dealing with public entities, a defendants may claim limited liability. LA Rev. Stat § 13: 5106 provides limited liability to a state agency or political subdivision who are sued. The total liability for damages is capped at $500,000 for any claims against public bodies. This limitation only applies to entities funded by the public.
Check out New Orleans Attorney Cliff Cardone’s interview with WDSU where he discusses limited liability in a tragic elevator accident that occurred at the Superdome where he was able to get the injured victims a multi-million-dollar award.
It is crucial to seek help from an experienced attorney following your accident to help you through this complex claim. If you or someone you love has been involved in an elevator accident, PHONE CARDONE today for a free consultation! Contact us at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge), 833-597-1818 (toll-free) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.