In the US, about 900,000 elevators are operational which allows for 18 billion trips every year. These elevators must always be in excellent working conditions to avoid serious accidents. In most cases, elevator accidents take place due to poor maintenance, faulty installation, while in maintenance, or improper use. Malfunctioning elevators are known to cause fatal accidents or serious injuries.
The New York City government mandates that the elevator division completes an annual inspection of city-wide elevators. This department is also responsible for posting all inspection reports online through their online system. All elevator owners or operators are legally responsible for displaying a copy of the inspection certificate inside the elevator for public viewing.
Common reasons for elevator malfunctions
As functioning elevators may be categorized into the three following types, any malfunction in is usually caused by the stated reasons:
- In manual elevators operated by attendants, poor maintenance or the age of the elevator causes occasional malfunctions or accidents.
- In automatic elevators, very often the elevator door can malfunction leading to serious accidents. In this case, the door may suddenly open between floors, forcing the passengers to fall out in the shaft.
- In escalators, sudden stops or starts can cause the users to fall and get injured.
When elevator accidents happen, the owner, manager, or the operator of the facility if liable as elevator maintenance comes under the jurisdiction of such persons. Thus, the victims will have to prove a “prima facie” case of negligence, basing on the tenets that:
- The guilty party was duty bound for providing safe transportation to the victim
- The guilty party breached this duty
- The guilty party’s negligence led to serious injuries or deaths
What are some common elevator accidents?
- The door of an elevator abruptly shuts on someone.
- The elevator door suddenly opens while in motion causing a passenger to fall in the shaft.
- The elevator gets stuck between floors for very long time causing suffocation and injuries to passengers.
- The elevator goes through a “free fall” causing injuries to the passengers.
Legal recourse in case of an elevator accidents:
If you have been a victim of elevator malfunction leading to bodily injuries, then you should immediately contact a personal injury law in New York to file claims for:
- Product liability against the manufacturer of the elevator
- Premises liability against the facility owner or manager for poor maintenance of the elevator
- Workers’ compensation claim if applicable
Who is liable in an elevator-related personal injury case?
Sometimes, more than one party may be liable for an elevator accident, and determining the responsible parties will depend on the specifics of your incident. The involved parties may be one or more of the following:
- The owner or manager of the facility where the elevator is located
- A maintenance company designated for regular upkeep of the elevator
- The manufacturer of the elevator
- The elevator installation company, if different from the manufacturer
- The human attendants operating a manual elevator
In cases where the liable parties are difficult to determine, the injured victims can still attempt to build a personal injury case by using “doctrine of res ipsa loquitor,” which puts the onus of proving innocence on the alleged guilty parties. Likewise, all the injured victims will also have to prove that they were not, in any way, responsible for their injuries.
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If you have been injured in an elevator accident, do not hesitate to call the winning personal injury law firm Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280. Right away, they will listen to your case and evaluate the merits or demerits of the case at no cost to you. You will speak with a friendly voice on the other side.
RMFW Law has won millions of dollars for past victims – you can be on the money list as well. If you want your voice heard by the other side, call RMFW Law.