Defective Elevators and Escalators
The vast majority of us have ridden in elevators and on escalators many, many times and usually do not give any thought to our safety on them. In many large cities, such as Los Angeles, a willingness to ride in elevators and on escalators is almost an imperative, because of the number of multi-story buildings.
However, elevator and escalator accidents, while infrequent, do happen and can cause serious injuries or even death. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 10,200 people injured by elevators each year. Most of the injuries are related to elevator doors malfunctioning or the elevator car misaligning with the floor. There are also 27 people killed in elevator accidents in the United States each year. Of those, many are typically repair or maintenance workers who work on elevators. About half of the deaths are the result of falls into the elevator shaft. Other deaths sometimes result from being caught between the elevator and the shaft wall.
The causes of the fatal accidents are usually due to malfunctions in the operation of the elevator or defects with the elevator itself, such as problems with the doors, wiring or pulleys. Another typical cause is improper maintenance either the elevator isnt serviced when its supposed to be, which results in the elevator wearing down over time, or the maintenance is not performed correctly.
Properly functioning elevators and escalators are the responsibility of the property owner. The owner of a business or a home is responsible for any dangerous conditions on the property that harm visitors, such as unsafe elevators or escalators. In addition, the elevator manufacturer could be liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as the result of improperly manufactured or maintained elevators.
California law recognizes elevators and escalators as common carriers subject to a higher standard of safety and care. Civil Code Section 2011 requires common carriers to use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage. They must provide everything necessary for that purpose and they must exercise a reasonable degree of skill. However, owners and operators of elevators and escalators are not guarantors or insurers of their passengers safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous elevator or escalator, you may have a personal injury case against the buildings owner, the elevator or escalator manufacturer, or the elevator maintenance company. If you are in California, call Don Sjaarda, Orange County personal injury attorney, at 714-963-8216. He will advise you on whether you have a case and the best course of action for your particular situation.
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