The first elevator was probably invented in 236 B.C., and the first safety elevator was introduced in 1852. Since then, thousands of people have suffered injuries in elevators. According to government statistics, about 27 people are killed each year in elevator accidents, and 10,000 people suffer serious injuries. These accidents leave behind grieving family members and cost millions of dollars a year in medical treatment and lost productivity.
If you were injured in an elevator, you should reach out to a Georgia premises liability attorney right away to review your case. You might be entitled to compensation.Causes of Elevator Accidents
Elevators are complicated mechanisms, and many things can go wrong. Given their complexity, it is surprising that more accidents do not occur each year. Elevators can malfunction in various ways:
- The pulleys could fail or malfunction, leading to sudden stops or rapid falls.
- An open shaft could cause someone to fall to the ground floor.
- Open doors crush limbs or lead to amputations.
- Faulty wiring can cause electrocution or fires in the elevator.
- The ceiling could collapse, causing injury from falling debris.
- Unbalanced leveling can cause riders to fall or trip while entering or exiting the elevator.
These defects might stem from inadequate maintenance. However, other accidents could be caused by defects in the design, manufacture, or installation of the elevator.Types of Elevator Injuries
By far, the major cause of elevator injuries is trauma as the victim's body is thrown or pinned against other objects. Many riders will suffer:
- Broken bones as they collide with other passengers or the interior of the elevator. Some fractures can heal quickly whereas others might require surgery.
- Soft-tissue injuries such as bruises, sprains, or strains from blunt trauma. These are relatively minor, though severe soft-tissue injuries might require that you go under the knife.
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries range from relatively mild concussions that can clear up in a matter of weeks to severe traumatic injuries that require years of rehabilitation to relearn how to talk, walk, and take care of yourself.
- Spinal cord injuries. Among the most catastrophic injuries, spinal cord damage can leave you immobile and without sensation in affected limbs.
- Death. Riders can become crushed, especially if the elevators doors open between floors. In this situation, the last thing a rider should do is try to exit the elevator because it might start moving again, crushing the rider between the elevator and the floor.
After an elevator accident, injured riders should seek immediate medical attention. Stop any bleeding by immediately applying pressure to the wound. Then call emergency services or have a friend take you to the hospital so that a doctor can check your injuries. Be advised that some injuries, in particular, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, can take a day or two for symptoms to fully develop.
You should always follow your doctor’s advice. If you think you are getting worse, you should contact a Georgia premises liability attorney who can help you find another doctor for a second opinion. However, try to avoid self-diagnosing your condition, since you might make your situation worse.Horrific Accidents
Elevator accidents regularly make the news, reminding readers of how dangerous they can be. Recent elevator accidents have included:
- A hospital employee in Decatur, Alabama was killed in a freight elevator when it came down on him, crushing him. The employee had been attempting to repair the elevator when the accident occurred.
- A jail guard and an inmate fell down an elevator shaft when they smashed through the closed doors during a scuffle. Both men died.
- A woman in Spain was decapitated in a hospital elevator after giving birth. Staff had taken her to an elevator, but the doors did not close. As a result, the staff began to wheel her out to take her to a different elevator. With her body half inside the elevator and half out, the elevator suddenly rose, killing her.
- An advertising executive in New York was killed when her leg got caught in the door, and the moving elevator dragged her into the shaft. Other people in the elevator were treated for emotional trauma.
To receive compensation, you must show someone is to blame for the accident. In our experience as premises liability lawyers in Georgia, we have found that there are two groups of people you could sue:
- Manufacturers. If a defect in the elevator manufacture or design has caused the accident, Georgia law allows you to bring a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. You will need to show that the elevator was defective and that the defect caused your injury. In a products liability lawsuit, the manufacturer cannot defend themselves by claiming they used sufficient care.
- Premises owners. The building owner or occupier owes visitors a duty of care to maintain their elevators so that they are safe. For example, a building owner must have the elevator inspected regularly and fix any problems that are uncovered. If the owner fails to do this, and their negligence caused your injuries, you can sue them for compensation.
Injured riders are not expected to know who is responsible for their injuries, nor do they need to launch a full-scale investigation while recovering. It is enough to know that the elevator did not operate as it should have. Contact a Georgia premises liability attorney right away. We can begin investigating your case and identifying who you can hold responsible for your injuries. We also understand how to find the evidence you need to win a settlement.Avoid Delay
Georgia law gives injured elevator riders a short window of time to pursue their legal rights to compensation. If you wait too long, or simply forget to bring a lawsuit, a judge can dismiss your case. This means you will not receive any compensation for medical care, lost wages, or other losses.
The best thing you can do to protect your rights is to contact a Georgia premises liability attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin to build your case for compensation and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.