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Elevator Accidents: Who's to Blame When You're Injured in a Lift

August 22, 2023 
by LA Injury Group

It is hard to imagine, but an elevator may sometimes fall a couple of floors. The fall is often spontaneous, unplanned, and in most instances, catastrophic. This fall will undoubtedly bring about significant discomfort and harm to those affected. During this fall, you may break your knees and sustain minor and significant injuries. When this happens, what springs to your mind is who should be responsible for the eventual damages.

In California, there are more than a thousand buildings in which movement from one floor to the next is aided by an elevator. These elevators move up and down so many times in a single day. The action is majorly influenced by the needs and desires of those who desire to use the lift. When moving to the highest floors, it is impractical to take the stairs. With this in mind, it is more likely that thousands shall use a single elevator in a single day.

Because of the countless number of times an elevator is used, it is more likely that it may develop some system faults. These systemic faults will result in hundreds of injuries if not addressed. With this in mind, there shall always be a constant requirement for maintenance. As the maintenance process is very complex, the workers working on them may eventually become victims of the elevators. It is possible that during maintenance, some of the workers may fall through the elevator shafts and descend to their horrific deaths. However, such deaths are more uncommon than the injuries sustained by the various users of the lifts. 

It should be noted that courts in California have broadened the term "elevator" to include escalators. It should be noted that there are hundreds of possible injuries due to the escalators. The causes of these injuries vary from one incident to the next. The extent of the injuries sustained shall also depend on the type of accident.

You can successfully file a claim against the elevator maintenance company, the maintenance and any other person or party tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the elevator doors and elevators are generally and regularly maintained to ensure that they do no become faulty. If you or your loved one is a victim of an elevator accident, reach out to us so we can actively follow up on the matter. Our experienced elevator accident lawyers are on standby to start and finalize the claim process.

out of order elevator

What To Do After An Elevator Accident

As has been indicated above, elevator accidents can be traumatic events. They are spontaneous and will, in most instances, result in terrific injuries. Because of their random nature, you will likely be confused about the cause of action you should take and the steps you should follow after you are involved in an accident. It is because of this that our personal injury lawyers advise that you should take the following steps in the aftermath of an elevator accident:

  1. As soon as you are involved in an accident, you should use your best endeavors to get the various witnesses' phone numbers and other forms of contact. Having the connections of the witnesses shall significantly impact the chances of success of your personal injury claim. You should, therefore, be open to having their contacts.
  2. Reach out to the building owners or management and report the issue to them. During this stage, you should ensure that you do not give self-incriminating statements as the same are likely to be used against you as the matter progresses. It is therefore imperative that you say as little information as possible and allow your experienced personal injury lawyer to deal with other aspects of the case;
  3. Seek urgent medical attention. Most accidents may not involve physical injuries but may involve a significant level of internal injuries. It is therefore vital that you seek urgent medical attention so that you may be attended to. During this stage, you should ensure that you get a medical report and similarly ensure that you properly maintain your medical bills. These pieces of evidence shall be essential when you shall be pursuing your personal injury lawsuit;
  4. Reach out to an experienced elevator attorney so that you may begin the process of putting together the necessary evidence to successfully sustain a case against the building owners and building management. This is a vital stage for the reason that the process of getting and putting together the requisite evidence is normally tedious and time-consuming. Moreover, the insurance company involved may invite you to the negotiations table and this would require that you retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer so that you can comfortably deal with the negotiations. By having a competent and experienced lawyer to deal with your personal injury claims, you shall increase your chances of receiving adequate compensation;
  5. Should the negotiations with the insurance company fail or result in a small or no offer, with the help of your lawyer, you should put together all the necessary pieces of evidence and file a personal injury lawsuit and follow all the requisite legal steps. California's laws provide that you can online file a personal injury suit within 2 years from the date the accident happened. This timeline must be adhered to and it requires you to ensure that you start the process as soon as you are involved in an elevator accident.

After reaching out to the elevator attorney, they shall advise you on the best way forward, considering the circumstances of your case. Depending on the evidence at their disposal and any other evidence they may get along the way, the attorney shall look into the matter and advise on the most applicable claim you can pursue. You must provide the lawyer with all the evidence and information surrounding the elevator accident so that they can help you.

Elevator Accidents: Parties' Liability 

Regarding the parties' liability arising from an elevator accident, you can pursue various significant claims against the at-fault party. The choice of claim you can follow shall therefore depend on the circumstances of your case. As the chances of success of any claim depend on the amount of evidence at the parties' disposal, a claim that the evidence at hand can support should be pursued. As the choice of the claim to follow can be complex, you must engage the services of an experienced lawyer so that they can advise you on the best way forward.

The possible claims following an elevator accident are:

Premises Liability

Under premises liability, the building owner is held liable for the injuries sustained in the elevators found on their premises. In this instance, and for the premises liability to be successful, you must prove that the property owner had control of the property at the time of the accident. Under California's laws, the law places a duty of care on the owners of the premises on "foreseeable plaintiffs." The burden of care encompasses maintenance of the property, looking out for any dangers on the property, and ensuring that there are warning signs of the dangers so that upon knowing them, the victim shall be assuming the risks associated with the hazards without liability having to fall on the owners of the premises.

Under this section, if you are injured in an elevator because the owner or the management of the premises failed to maintain the elevator, you may successfully sustain a claim against the owner of the premises. Therefore, you must reach out to us as soon as you are involved in an elevator accident so that we can advise you on the best way forward.

Products liability

If an elevator has manufacturing defects that could have led to your losses and injuries, the manufacturer and the elevator retailer shall be held strictly liable for the damages and losses.

Putting them strictly liable for the losses and injuries sustained imposes upon them a fault for the elevator accident, and the Defendant shall be prevented from raising any defense that the victim of the elevator accident contributed to the elevator accident that resulted in losses and injuries. Under California's laws, a defect in an elevator makes everyone in the chain of sale liable for the accident and consequent harm suffered. However, the elevator had an issue with its design. In that case, the manufacturer shall solely be responsible for the resulting penalty and damages. This is because the design defects are beyond the retailer's control and wholly reside in the manufacturer.


Often, an elevator injury lawsuit could end in a settlement. Defendants would want to settle rather than spend money on attorneys' fees in court.

On the limb for a lawsuit based on negligence, the victim of the elevator accident must prove that, indeed, the Defendant had a duty of care towards him and that the Defendant breached the duty of care by failing to adhere to the reasonable standards of care and that by the Defendant failing in his duty of care, the plaintiff suffered harm. In this limb of negligence, so many people could be responsible for the result of damages and injury. The possible defendants under this limb may include

The company that is tasked with the maintenance of the elevator if it can be proven that they did not do a proper job when they were maintaining the elevator or that they used defective tools when working on the elevator

The architect of the building, if it can be proven that were it not for the architectural designs of the building, the elevator accident could not have happened.

The engineer who set up the elevator can equally be liable for the elevator accident if some level of negligence can be attributed to his elevator setting up.

Suppose it becomes difficult to point the finger at any party for the elevator accident because of the absence of evidence. In that case, the accident victim may argue res ipsa loquitor, which means that the evidence speaks for itself. Those elevator accident injuries would not have happened unless there was some sought of negligence by a party.

Can you Sue for being stuck in an elevator?

It is improbable that your suit on being stuck in an elevator can be successful. This is because the time you took in the lift may be less. However, should you be stuck in an elevator and go through a great deal of inconvenience, you may successfully sustain a claim against the owner of the premises or the management of the premises. They may be found liable if they did not take immediate active steps following your distress or failed to maintain the elevator. However, should they prove that they were not negligent in handling the lift, your claim would not be successful.

Suppose it is proven that the cause of your inconvenience was the defects in the elevator. In that case, you may successfully pursue a claim against the manufacturer.

It follows from the above that the chances of your claim's success depend on your case's circumstances. Moreover, it is imperative to note that it is a complex process; you must immediately engage the services of an elevator accident lawyer so that they can advise you on the best way forward.

Common Injuries Sustained in Elevator Accidents

As pointed out above, elevator injuries can result in major and minor injuries. The following are the typical injuries following an elevator accident:

  • Broken bones-in an elevator injury, you may suffer broken limbs because of the impact of the elevator accident
  • Internal bleeding- it is possible that you could suffer internal bleeding after an elevator accident. Therefore, you must seek immediate medical attention following an elevator accident
  • Spinal cord injuries- The elevator accident may hurt your spinal cord. When this happens, it shall interfere with how you go about your daily activities. Therefore, you must seek urgent medical attention after you have been involved in an accident.
  • Concussions- it is possible that you can get concussions after an elevator accident. It follows from this that you should seek urgent medical attention so that your injuries can be looked into and attended to before they spiral into a life-threatening condition.

Damages Resulting from an Elevator Accident

There are various damages that a victim of an elevator injury can be entitled to get. The damages shall include compensation for the medical expenses used by the victim from the time of injury to date and the costs that they might likely use in the future. There are also damages for the lost wages if the victim of the elevator accident lost some income because of the injuries sustained during the elevator accident. The victim shall be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering from the elevator accident.

Suppose your loved one passed on after the elevator accident. In that case, you shall be entitled to lodge a wrongful death claim against the premises owner or its management. If a wrongful death claim is successful, the elevator accident victims shall be entitled to damages, including compensation for lost income and loss of companionship. The at-fault party shall also be liable to pay the expenses incurred before and after the death of their loved one.

As elevator accidents can appear more complex than other types of accidents, you must seek the services of an elevator accident attorney so that they can work you through the process of filing and ultimately getting compensation for the accident. Moreover, it would be best if you got proper guidance on the best claim to pursue in light of the circumstances of your case. You should contact a lawyer when you or your loved one has been involved in an accident.

Contact Us Now

At LA Injury Group, we are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to promptly deal with your personal injury claims. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is willing and ready to take on any premises owner or management to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our experienced personal injury attorney shall give you a free case review in which we shall analyze the case thoroughly and advise you on the available options. We shall address all your concerns about the accident during the free consultation. For the free consultation to be effective, we encourage you to give us as much information as possible so that you can get the most appropriate advice.

Should you engage us, we shall only charge you a single penny once we are successful with your elevator claim case. If your elevator accident claim is unsuccessful, you shall not be required to pay us any amount. Moreover, any costs necessary for your claim to be successful shall be paid by us. You can trust us with your claim, and we shall do our best to ensure your success.

Contact us today, and we shall start the process of getting you the compensation that you deserve.

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