Many of us travel in elevators several times a day without giving much thought to their safety. Although most modern elevators are very safe, when poorly maintained, or when other passengers are careless, it can lead to an elevator injury. Here we look at the top five causes for people injured in an elevator.
1. Defective Elevator Doors
Defective doors can shut too fast and cause serious injuries. Today most elevators are equipped with sensors that prevent doors from closing when someone is entering or exiting the cab. Sensors detect not just people, but objects as well as limbs. Doors are also designed to close slowly to limit how much pressure is applied should someone be hit when they are in motion.
However, If the sensors malfunction or fail to pick up the movement of a person entering or leaving the elevator, it is possible for the person or their extremities to get trapped in between the doors. In fact, there is even risk for the entire system to fail so not only does a person become trapped, but the elevator then begins to move.
2. Free Falling Elevators
This is a scenario nightmares are made of. Although properly maintained elevators have safety features to reduce the risk for a free fall, the constant weight of thousands of pounds on the elevator’s lifting mechanisms can lead to damage that causes an accident to happen. Free falls can also occur in new elevators if the installer failed to install them properly. Elevators can plunge to the ground in seconds due to snapped wires, broken or damaged tracks, or issues with the system. Falls can cause not only serious elevator injuries but also death.
Elevators have settings and defaults that prevent them from operating at unsafe speeds. However, because elevators are so complex there are many elements that can cause a speed malfunction including faulty counterweights, damaged brake systems, or out-of-date control systems. While regular maintenance and safety checks can spot these issues, poorly maintained elevators are at risk of unsafe operation which can lead to speed accidents. When the elevator moves too quickly it can cause dangerous unexpected jolts to the body, falls, or even crashes that can crush passengers.
4. Level Issues
Elevators are designed to land at each destination flush to the floor. However, if braking systems aren’t aligned properly it can lead to what is called “unbalanced leveling.” When this happens, the elevator can miss its mark by a few inches, or several feet. As a result, people can trip or worse, fall several feet when entering or leaving the cab. Although building owners might claim it is the fault of the injured party for not paying attention, the fault always lies with the property owner for failing to take reasonable precautions to keep their building safe.
5. Careless Passengers
Elevator malfunctions are not the only cause of elevator injuries. You could have reason to speak to an elevator injury attorney if you suffer an injury as a result of a careless passenger. For example, if someone decides to run for the elevator and falls into you, they could be responsible for your injuries.
Also, someone who chooses to push the close button so the door closes while you are trying to enter the elevator could also be found responsible. Workers in or around the elevator who don’t take precautions to flag an elevator under repairs can also be liable. Therefore when you are injured due to someone else’s negligence it always makes sense to call an elevator injury lawyer to see if you have a case.