Elevator and escalator accidents occur much more frequently than we care to think, often resulting in injury and death. During the last decade, OSHA attributes over 200 deaths to elevators and escalators (both workers and passengers). In addition, there are hundreds of injuries that resulted from faulty, unsafe, or malfunctioning elevators and escalators in the U.S. With population increases and urbanization of the cities, elevator and escalator accidents can be expected to increase as well.

Escalator injury cases typically result from slip and fall situations, where a person sustains harm due to the height of the escalator. The large mass of the elevator itself causes great injuries to passengers and can leave victims permanently disabled.

Our Attorneys Know Elevator Accidents

Defective construction of elevators and escalators can result in serious injuries for workers and passengers. In cases where these defects failed to be addressed by manufacturers or owners responsible for maintenance, responsible parties can be found liable for:

  • Faulty or Inherently flawed products
  • Failure to upkeep, inspect and maintain elevators
  • Faulty repair work and maintenance
  • Failure to adhere to building and safety codes
  • Failure to follow laws regarding elevators
  • Failure to warn of hazards and risks
  • Failure to promote an emergency response plan and exits

In the event that injury or death occurs from such failures, victims are entitled to compensation for medical expense coverage and lost current and future wages among other items. Our elevator accident attorneys have successfully handled personal injury claims in Southern California and can help you with your claim.

Elevator Accident Statistics

How often do elevator accidents occur, and what causes them most frequently? The following elevator accident statistics come from the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, and from the Center for Construction Research and Training:

  • Every year, elevator and escalator accidents result in about 30 deaths;
  • Approximately 17,000 people are injured every year in the U.S. in elevator and escalator accidents;
  • Majority of serious and fatal injuries occur in elevators (as opposed to escalators), with approximately 90 percent of all serious injured tied to elevators and about 60 percent of all fatal injuries linked to elevator accidents;
  • Approximately 50 percent of all elevator accident deaths affect people who are working on or working near elevators (such as people who are installing elevators, repairing or maintaining elevators, or working in or around an elevator shaft);
  • Around 50 percent of all workers who sustain fatal injuries in elevator accidents suffer deadly injuries when they fall into an elevator shaft; and
  • Beyond falls into elevator shafts, other common sources of injury in elevator accidents include getting caught in or caught between the moving parts of an elevator, falling when an elevator collapses or being struck by a moving elevator.

Common Injuries in California Elevator Accidents

Elevator accidents can result in many different types of injuries, including but not limited to the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
  • Bone fractures;
  • Amputations resulting from crush injuries;
  • Bruises or contusions;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Back injuries;
  • Neck injuries;
  • Sprains; 
  • Strains; and

Cuts or lacerations.

Liability for California Elevator Accidents

Who is responsible for injuries in an elevator accident? Liability will depend upon how the accident occurred and what caused it. To determine liability in your specific circumstances, you should have a California elevator accident lawyer evaluate your case. In the meantime, the following are parties who are frequently liable in different types of elevator accidents:

  • Property owner of the building where the elevator accident occurred, such as the owner or manager of a retail building or a hotel;
  • Mechanic who worked on the elevator;
  • Construction company that installed the elevator;
  • Designer of the elevator and one of its parts;
  • Manufacturer of the elevator or one of its parts; and/or
  • Retailer of the elevator or one of its parts; and/or
  • Negligent guests or customers or clients who caused the elevator accident.

Timetable for a California Elevator Accident Claim

To file an elevator accident on time in California, you will need to determine liability. If the elevator accident occurred on government property, you may need to file a government claim, which usually must be done within six months from the date of the accident. For other types of lawsuits, the statute of limitations is usually 2 years from the date of the elevator accident.

What Do I Need to Prove to Win an Elevator Accident Claim?

The specific elements of your elevator accident claim will depend upon the cause of the accident and who is liable for your injuries. In general, elevator accidents are typically filed either as strict liability lawsuits when the accident resulted from a defect or as a negligence claim when the elevator accident resulted from another party’s careless or reckless behavior. 

When you are planning to file a product liability lawsuit as a result of an elevator defect, you will need to prove the following essential factual elements, according to the California Civil Jury Instructions for a strict liability lawsuit:

  • Plaintiff was harmed by a product that was distributed, manufactured, or sold by the defendant; and
  • Product contained a manufacturing defect, was defectively designed or did not include sufficient instructions or warning of potential safety hazards.

Product defect cases have relatively few elements since there is no need to prove that a party’s negligence caused the injuries. Instead, the plaintiff only needs to prove that they were harmed by a defect and that the defendant designed, manufactured, or sold the defective product or one of its components. Differently, in an elevator accident based on a theory of negligence, a plaintiff will need to prove the following general elements to win their lawsuit:

  • Defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • Defendant breached the duty of care by behaving in a careless manner or negligently omitting an action or task;
  • Plaintiff suffered an actual injury; and
  • Plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Regardless of whether your lawsuit will be based on a theory of strict liability or negligence, you will need to file the claim before the statute of limitations runs out.

Contact an Elevator Accident Attorney in California

Find out what we can do for you. Call our law firm at (213) 891-0777 for a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we recover for you.

Other Los Angeles Practice Areas

Personal Injury | Auto Accidents | Bicycle Accidents | Pedestrian Accidents | Wrongful Death | Motorcycle Accidents | Truck Accidents | Bus Accidents | Defective Products | Dog Bites | Slip & Fall Accident | Boat Accidents | Bone Fractures | Brain Injuries | Burn Injuries | Construction Accidents | Crane Accidents | Defective Drugs | Distracted Driving Accidents | Drunk Driving Accidents | Electrical Shock Accidents | Elevator Accidents | FedEx Truck Accidents | Gas Station Slip & Fall Accidents | Longboarding Accidents | Premisis Liability Accidents | School Bus Accidents | Spinal Cord Injuries | Swimming Pool Accidents | Train Accidents |