Many people use elevators every day in their office buildings or in public at department stores, shopping malls, hotels, and various other establishments. When an elevator accident causes injuries to occupants, several possible avenues are available for recovery, depending on who is responsible for the accident. If you’ve been injured as a result of an unsafe or malfunctioning elevator, contact Clifford Law Offices for help.
The attorneys at the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago have extensive experience handling civil actions for our clients, including personal injury lawsuits and product liability claims. Our firm has handled cases for more than 30 years in the Chicago area, and we can help people injured in elevator accidents recover their losses.
Who Is Liable for an Elevator Accident?
The first step in recovering compensation for an elevator accident injury is to determine which party is responsible for the elevator or contributed to the accident. Some of the most likely defendants in an elevator accident lawsuit include:
- The elevator manufacturer. If a manufacturer produced a defective product, used a defective design, or failed to accurately represent a product with appropriate safety markings and instructions for use, the manufacturer is strictly liable for the resulting damages.
- A maintenance technician or service provider. If a service provider failed to properly service an elevator, performed incorrect work, or failed to address a known problem, the provider could face professional liability and absorb fault for the resulting damages.
- The building owner. Property owners must maintain all elements of their properties and address any known safety issues as soon as they notice them. If a property owner knew of a problem with an elevator but did nothing to prevent injuries or failed to arrange repairs in a timely manner, the building owner would likely absorb liability for any injuries the elevator causes.
A person injured in an elevator accident should address any immediate medical concerns and then contact a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine who is liable for the victim’s damages.
Types of Elevator Accident Claims and Compensation
An elevator accident can result in several types of injuries, including:
- Crushing injuries from doors suddenly shutting on occupants
- Fall-related injuries from sudden changes in momentum or free-falls
- Fall-related injuries from unmarked open elevator shafts
- Injuries from long-term entrapment if an elevator car is stuck between floors for an extended time
A victim of an elevator accident must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to prevent elevator-related injuries, breached that duty in some way, and directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. An elevator injury may result in severe injuries including bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and psychological distress from isolation and entrapment. The right attorney can help a plaintiff claim compensation for these damages as well as lost income from time missed from work.
Illinois follows a comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff could potentially lose a portion of his or her settlement or case award if the plaintiff contributed to his or her damages in any way.
For example, an elevator is stuck between floors, but the doors below the elevator still open, exposing the open shaft. The building owner arranges for an elevator repair but fails to mark the open shaft in a poorly lit hallway. A building resident opens the elevator door with a button and attempts to enter the elevator while looking at a cell phone and suffers a fall down the open shaft. In this situation, the property owner was clearly negligent because of the failure to mark the dangerous elevator doors, but the victim may also incur a measure of liability for failing to pay attention to where he or she was going.
Call Clifford Law Offices
The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices can help Chicago clients who suffer injuries from defective or negligently maintained elevators. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options after an elevator accident or to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.