What Are the Most Common Elevator Accidents?

The modern elevator is relatively safe, with millions of people using this method of transportation every day in the United States. However, like any building feature, elevators can also cause serious injuries – especially when manufacturers and property owners fail to protect the public from defects. According to the CDC, elevator accidents cause up to 17,000 injuries and 30 deaths each year.

While you don’t need to start avoiding your apartment elevator just yet, it’s important to know the most common elevator defects so you can be prepared in the event of an injury. At Tedford & Associates, our premises liability attorneys can help you pursue a legal claim if you’re ever hurt while riding an elevator.

What Are the Most Common Elevator Defects?

From hotels to malls, office buildings to schools, we encounter elevators everywhere we go and use them without even blinking an eye. But although elevator operators required to schedule regular safety inspections, not every property manager or building owner is diligent about this important duty. When elevator safety hazards aren’t addressed, people’s lives can be put at risk.

Here are a few of the most common elevator accident scenarios:

  • Defective doors. Most modern elevator doors have built-in door sensors and open at a slow pace to prevent injuries. However, sometimes these door sensors can fail to detect a person or a limb. Some of the most serious elevator injuries occur when extremities become trapped in doors – especially when the elevator is already moving.
  • Free falls. Because elevators weigh thousands of pounds and operate on complex pulley systems, it’s all too easy for those systems to become overburdened, particularly if they weren’t set up correctly in the first place. A snapped wire or faulty elevator track can send the entire car into a free fall, putting passengers at serious risk of injury and death.
  • Unbalanced leveling. In buildings that predate the 1960s, elevator braking systems tend to wear down more frequently. This can lead to unbalanced leveling, meaning that the elevator stops either a few feet above or below the intended floor level. Seniors and children are particularly vulnerable to trip-and-fall risks with this form of elevator defect.
  • Speed malfunctions. If any of the counterweights, control systems, or braking systems in an elevator aren’t working correctly, the elevator may move too fast, crushing onboarding passengers in the process. It can also cause injuries inside the elevator car when passengers are thrown against each other or the interior wall fixtures.

Filing an Elevator Accident Claim

Like any complex building feature, an elevator must be maintained by certified and trained technicians. Under premises liability laws, landlords and property managers are required to seek out the right state and local certifications for their elevators each year, posting the safety certificate clearly inside the car.

If you have been injured in an elevator accident, we’re here to help. Passionate, skilled, and dedicated, our legal team in Pasadena will provide a thorough investigation of the elevator accident and hold the right party accountable for your losses.

Give our Los Angeles lawyers a call at (626) 325-0142 today.


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