Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

How dangerous are elevators and can you sue for injuries?

It could be argued that any technology responsible for carrying or transporting people has certain dangers. With all of their moving parts and manufactured elements, elevators are no exception. At one time or another, most people have experienced an elevator scare. For example, being trapped inside the car for a time or feeling the car shift or bounce.

The examples above are mostly benign, meaning that people do not typically suffer injuries in those instances. However, residents of the U.S. have been injured and even killed in elevator malfunctions, putting such incidents in the realm of premises liability law.

Together, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that around 27 people die in elevator incidents each year with more than 10,000 suffering injuries. Here are a few potentially dangerous elevator malfunctions or defects

  • Pulley system failure causing the car to fall rapidly without warning
  • Unbalanced leveling or failure of the car to line up with a floor
  • Elevator doors opening upon an empty shaft
  • Defective wiring and malfunctions in the car's control system

Looking at the list above, it is easy to see how disaster can occur. When cars drop quickly, passengers could suffer bone fractures or head injuries. Walking into an open shaft could result in fatal falls. Tripping or stumbling when the elevator and the floor do not meet could lead to serious bone fractures.

The good news is yes, you very likely can file a premises liability lawsuit if you have suffered injuries in a North Carolina elevator accident. Your next step should be speaking with an attorney about the details of your accident.

Source: Consumer Watch, "Elevators," Oct. 26, 2017

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