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Can You Sue for an Elevator Injury?

by Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP
December 19, 2023
Personal Injury

Who Is Responsible for an Elevator Accident and What You Can Do After an Injury

Elevators are a staple in modern buildings, transporting millions of people between floors every day. However, when something goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), elevator accidents in the U.S. lead to approximately 30 deaths and more than 17,000 injuries each year. When you are injured in an elevator accident, what are your legal options? Can you sue for an elevator injury, and who can be held liable?

If you suffered injuries while riding in an elevator, you may be entitled to financial recovery. Contact our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers today to see if you have the right to be compensated for your losses. Call Levin & Nalbandyan at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free case review.

Common Causes of Elevator Accidents

While the majority of elevators operate properly, they can also malfunction, leading to serious injuries and even death. The following are the most common causes of elevator accidents:

  • Misleveling - When an elevator is not aligned correctly with the floor, passengers can trip and fall.
  • Excessive speed - Elevator cabs that ascend or descend too quickly can injure occupants.
  • Door strikes - Malfunctioning elevator doors that close too quickly or forcefully or fail to detect people or objects entering or exiting the elevator can lead to serious injuries.
  • Abrupt stops - When an elevator stops abruptly, passengers can be thrown into walls, down to the floor, or into each other. An elevator’s emergency system might also malfunction, failing to stop the cab safely. 
  • Falling down an elevator shaft - When an elevator gets stuck at the top, bottom, or between floors, it can result in an open elevator shaft. Individuals might not notice the cab is not there and step in, causing them to fall down into the shaft.

Who Is Liable for an Elevator Accident?

Elevator accident liability varies from case to case. However, parties most commonly responsible for a victim’s injuries include the following:

Building Owners or Lessees

Building owners and lessees are responsible for maintaining a safe property and/or warn visitors or patrons of any known hazards. When it comes to elevators, this includes performing routine maintenance and safety checks by qualified professionals. If the building owner or lessee fails to properly maintain their elevator cabs, they can be held liable for the victim’s losses.

Elevator Maintenance and Repair Companies

If the building owner or lessee hires an outside company to handle the elevator’s maintenance and repair, that company can be responsible. For example, if they failed to service the elevator per the cab’s recommended maintenance schedule, failed to perform repairs, or repaired the cab improperly, they can be held liable.

Elevator Manufacturers or Sellers

Manufacturers are legally responsible for the safety of their elevators, even if the cab is outside its warranty.  Elevator injuries caused by a design defect, manufacturing defect, or improper marketing (for example, failing to notify the purchaser of the product’s hidden dangers), a victim can seek compensation from the manufacturer or seller.

Compensation for an Elevator Accident Injury

Like all personal injury cases, an elevator accident case is based on the concept of negligence. If a victim can prove the party had a duty to prevent harm or injury, they breached that duty and the victim was injured and sustained losses as a result, they can secure financial compensation from the negligent party. 

Recoverable damages depend on the specifics of each case. However, an injured party might be entitled to the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Costs for future medical care
  • Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy
  • Assistive care
  • Lost earnings
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Mental anguish

The surviving family members of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death damages include funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death, the loss of the decedent’s income, and loss of consortium.

Contact an Experienced Elevator Accident Injury Attorney in Los Angeles

Each elevator accident case is different. The outcome depends on several factors, such as who and what caused the accident and the nature of the victim’s injuries. But one thing is clear. If you or a loved one suffered elevator accident injuries, you do have the right to take legal action against the responsible party.

Elevator injuries can be life-changing. That is why understanding your legal rights after an accident is crucial. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an elevator accident, consulting with one of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys is a critical first step. Our team can effectively navigate the complexities of your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Levin & Nalbandyan today to arrange a free initial consultation. (213) 232-4848 

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