Elevator Accident Attorneys in Chicago
We generally view elevators as a simple transportation device from one floor of a building to the next, however, many of us don’t consider the potentially dangerous accidents that could come out of using them. These small enclosures hang in a long elevator shaft, dependent on some cables to hoist it up and down. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, elevator and escalator accidents kill about 30 and seriously injure about 17,000 people each year in the United States.
These are not insignificant numbers, and there are measures that can be taken to prevent almost all of these accidents. Elevator accidents occur due to negligence and defects many times, so we are here to protect your rights and make sure that the people causing them do not continue to let it happen.
At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Causes of Elevator Accidents
Elevator accidents can be quite terrifying, no matter what type of accident it is. They can all cause injuries such as whiplash, neck or back injuries, broken bones, concussions, burn injuries, crushing injuries, and even death. Many of these all fall under the umbrella of some defective component(s) of the elevator or poor or absent proper maintenance and inspection causing the incident. But specifically, some of the most common causes of these accidents include the following:
- Unexpected door closings – If an elevator malfunctions, its doors can suddenly close and/or not sense a person in the doorway. When this happens, a person’s body parts can get crushed.
- Sudden stops – Elevators are meant to run up and down smoothly without any sudden jolts. When it suddenly stops on its journey, people can fall and experience head, back, or neck injuries.
- Electrical or circuit failures – In an elevator, there are many electrical wires that keep it functioning. When these erupt, they can cause a fire or spark that can cause serious burns.
- Slip and falls or trip and falls – An elevator must be kept clean and clear of obstructions. When they are not, people may get injured by a slip or trip on a substance, object or uneven surface when the elevator is not aligned with the landing.
- Falls into the elevator shaft – An elevator may be so defective that a person may fall into the elevator shaft when stepping onto the landing or the elevator itself may fall down the shaft.
Who Is Liable?
In order to find the negligent party in an elevator accident case, the plaintiff should be able to prove the elements of negligence. It usually occurs when a party fails to maintain its duty of care that another reasonable party would maintain under the same circumstances. First, you must prove that a duty of care existed between you and the defendant. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached. You must also prove that their actions or inactions were the only, direct cause of your injuries. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you suffered real damages and injuries. To prove liability, a plaintiff must be able to adequately prove these four elements or they must establish that an issue existed with the elevator that caused the accident. We are here to help you establish these facts so that you have a successful claim.
Premises liability cases come into play when an unsafe or hazardous condition on someone’s property led to an accident and therefore, your injuries. Slip and falls may be premises liability cases if the owners of the property had a reasonable amount of time to remove the hazard in the elevator that caused the accident or if the hazard was foreseeable and they failed to take care of it. For instance, on a day where inches of snow is collecting on the ground, there should be someone ensuring that the elevator is not too slick since that is a foreseeable danger.
Unexpected door closings, sudden stops, electrical or circuit failures, and falls into the elevator shaft are all possible product liability claims or matter of poor or absent adequate maintenance and inspection. Product liability is a legal doctrine that refers to a manufacturer or vendor’s liability when they release a defective product to consumers. If it causes injury, then the product manufacturer, vendor, or other actor in the chain of distribution could be held liable for the victim’s injuries. Alternatively, if the accident was due to poor or absent adequate maintenance or inspection, then the party that is responsible for its maintenance can be held liable for the injuries for failing to adequately conduct their job.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
An elevator accident can take a physical, mental, and financial toll on the victims. Particularly severe accidents, such as an elevator collapsing down the shaft, can even cause extensive hospitalization, serious surgery, and even death. This is extremely tragic and difficult to deal with, but with the help of our experienced attorneys, we can assist you in recovering some monetary damages as a result. Some common damages that you can recover after a successful claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (for wrongful death claims)
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
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