While elevator accidents are not the most common type of premises liability accident, they are terrifying incidents that can cause victims to suffer catastrophic injuries or death. If you or a family member were hurt while using an elevator, the property or business owner of the building where the elevator was located may owe you compensation for any injuries. Depending on the cause of the accident, other parties could also be liable to compensate you.
Most Common Causes of Elevator Accidents
Elevators are used at hotels, malls, apartment buildings, offices, hospitals, airports, and many other locations in Norfolk. Owners of the building have a duty to maintain their elevators in a safe manner and post a warning sign when they should not be used. These owners can be found negligent when they fail to fulfill these duties to guests and customers. Here are some of the leading ways they breach this duty.
Mis-leveling is a common problem in elevators installed in buildings that were built before 1960 because the elevator’s braking system can miscalculate when braking should occur. Newer elevators can also have mis-leveling problems if there is an oil leakage or failure to lubricate the hydraulic system. Victims can suffer a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, back and spinal injuries, and more if they slip and fall when the elevator is not level.
If elevator doors are defective, they can open or close suddenly or too fast and trap people trying to enter or exit the elevator between the doors. The doors can also fail to open all the way, or the elevator can start moving while someone is caught in the doors—both of which can be extremely dangerous.
If the elevator is moving at an excessive speed, it is often caused by counterweights or control systems that malfunction. The elevator can jerk up and down and throw individuals into the elevator walls and onto the floor.
Falls Into Shafts
One of the most fatal types of elevator accidents is one where the elevator or an individual in it falls into the shaft. It can occur in a number of situations, such as:
- When the elevator stops
- When the elevator doors open between floors and an unsuspecting person in the elevator steps out of it and fall into the shaft
- When someone tries to illegally open the shaft door
- When untrained personnel try to rescue an individual trapped in the elevator
An elevator can malfunction in many dangerous ways, such as moving with the doors open, when it is not properly inspected, maintained, and repaired. Victims can suffer devastating injuries, such as decapitation, amputation—or death—in a tragic, preventable accident.
Were you or a loved one injured in an elevator accident in Norfolk? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced premises liability attorneys to learn more about your options and how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.