You might think that elevator accidents are rare. The fact is that this is not a “one in a million” phenomenon. The CDC reports that elevator and escalator accidents are responsible for about thirty deaths (and over seventeen thousand serious injuries) across the United States every year.
Elevators are responsible for a staggering ninety percent of these deaths, though they are only responsible for about sixty percent of the serious injuries. These facts indicate that elevators are more dangerous than escalators. Both, however, can cause serious injury or even death.
Nearly half of these annual elevator deaths occur when a victim works on an elevator or near an open elevator shaft, illustrating how dangerous it can be for construction workers to deal with elevators. Whether your company is installing, maintaining, or even disassembling elevator parts, you are entitled to the safety training and equipment that will allow you to complete your work without being injured.
There are many ways that an elevator can cause injuries when it malfunctions. It might cause sudden stops, speeding, or jerks. In the worst-case scenario, an elevator car could go into a free fall as a result of a broken cable or other malfunction. Elevators also cause serious injuries to the construction workers who are hired to install and maintain them.
Workers can fall into an open shaft or suffer electrocution from malfunctioning circuits. There are many dangerous parts in the complicated machinery that keeps an elevator system functioning properly. Whether you are a worker or a passenger, you can be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffer from a malfunctioning elevator.
largest personal injury settlement in Calaveras County in 2020; client suffered lower leg injuries.– Judd Ross Allen
So who, exactly, must compensate you for injuries suffered in an elevator accident? There are several possibilities that your elevator accident lawyer will look into:
If you are injured as a passenger in a malfunctioning elevator, you may be entitled to compensation from the company that owns or maintains the elevator. These companies are classified as “common carriers.” Common carriers are companies that provide transportation services to members of the public. They include airlines, railways, ferry services, and even elevator owners.
Common carriers have a special duty of care. They must use “the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person,” meaning they must take special steps to ensure that their transportation is safe for the customers who use it. If not, and a passenger is injured as a result, the common carrier has a legal obligation to pay for all the victim’s injuries and losses.
As we have seen, elevators can be dangerous for construction and maintenance workers who service them. Employees are entitled to workers’ compensation for any injury suffered on the job. Workers’ compensation is an insurance coverage required by every employer in California.
If a company has even a single employee, it must purchase workers’ compensation coverage or show alternative proof of financial responsibility to ensure that injured workers can be compensated. Workers’ compensation policies are no-fault policies, meaning that you do not have to prove who was legally at fault for causing your injuries. So long as the injury occurred within the scope and course of your employment, you have the right to file a worker’s compensation claim against your employer.
Some elevator accidents are not caused by poor maintenance but by a defect that always existed in the system. In this case, an injury victim might have a products liability claim against the manufacturer. Consumers in the United States have strong legal protections under the rule of strict products liability. This rule requires the manufacturer of any consumer product sold in the United States to ensure that their product is free from defects in design or manufacturing.
If there is a defect and a consumer is injured as a result, the manufacturer must compensate this victim for their injuries and losses. Products liability is “strict” because the consumer does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. So long as the product was being used as intended, the manufacturer is liable for any injuries caused by defects.
Any accident scene is chaotic and confusing. By knowing what to do after an accident, you can protect both your health and your legal rights. Follow these steps after an elevator accident:
The most important thing to do after any type of accident is to receive the medical attention you need. If you need an ambulance, call 911 and ensure trained EMTs are dispatched to you. If you feel you can leave the scene on your own, be sure you have someone to give you a ride. You should always get checked out at an emergency department or urgent care facility after an accident, even if you do not feel hurt right away.
Some injuries do not show up for hours after an accident occurs. These “latent” injuries can be fatal. Brain injuries, internal bleeding, and other serious conditions do not always show symptoms right away. If you wait until you show symptoms of these dangerous conditions, it could be too late for doctors to treat them, which is why you want to see a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. They can detect early warning signs of danger. Early treatment also gives you the best possible chances to recover from your injuries.
Your first priority must always be your health and getting any medical attention that is necessary. But if your health allows it, it can be helpful to take photos of the accident scene. Take pictures of any equipment that appears to be broken or malfunctioning.
Take photos of any identifying information, such as an inspection certificate or the model and the serial number of the elevator car. These photos can be helpful evidence. Your lawyer can use them to find the responsible parties, prove their fault, and ensure that you have access to the compensation you deserve.
The sooner you have an elevator accident lawyer on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be. Your right to compensation can be affected by anything you say, even something you blurt out in the chaos of the accident scene. Your attorney will advise you on what to say and do to protect your right to compensation.
Your attorney will also start working to preserve evidence (like surveillance footage) that might be accidentally erased. These are just a few of the many things an injury lawyer does to protect your legal rights after an elevator accident.
The largest component of many personal injury settlements is compensation for your pain and suffering, which can be a difficult loss to prove. After all, your pain is not like anyone else’s, and your body will react to trauma differently. Your personal and professional circumstances can also dictate how much pain and suffering you will endure as a result of your injuries, which is why it is helpful to document the ways you have been affected by your injuries. Perhaps you are losing sleep because you are in pain.
Maybe you are unable to participate in hobbies or your usual workout routine. You might even miss out on major life events, such as a graduation or a wedding. You are entitled to compensation for all of these emotional losses. By documenting them clearly, you will help your lawyer prove just how much you are owed to fairly compensate you for your pain and suffering.
You don’t have to spend hours searching online for an “elevator accident lawyer near me.” Arash Law led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. is the best personal injury law firm in California. Our accident attorneys know how to handle the complex technical issues involved in elevator accident cases, and our team has collected over 400 million dollars for clients across the Golden State. Our injury lawyers also have decades of experience representing clients with all types of injuries.
The Golden State’s premiere car accident attorneys in our firm serve clients in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. Wherever you are, our team is close by. Call (888) 488-1391 today to schedule your free consultation. Don’t wait to protect your legal rights.