Elevator & Escalator Accidents & Malfunctions

Elevator malfunctions cause thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths each year. The personal injury lawyers at Hall Law P.A. have extensive experience successfully litigating elevator claims against elevator maintenance companies, elevator manufacturers and against building owners. Our lawyers have obtained as much as $1,000,000.00 on behalf of victims of elevator malfunctions.

Public Safety Concern

Elevators carry our most precious cargo, human lives. When we step into an elevator we are our trusting that those in charge of its performance have taken the steps necessary to keep the elevator safe. When an elevator is properly designed and maintained it should be safe. On the other hand, in cases in which an elevator is not properly maintained, dangerous malfunctions can occur, and human lives are at risk.

One of the main safety concerns currently facing the elevator industry has to do with the combination between aging, out of date elevator systems and equipment coupled with elevator maintenance workforce that no longer has the knowledge base to repair or maintain aging elevators. Older elevators, of which there are many still in use, are powered by sensitive mechanical controls that required precision maintenance from highly skilled elevator mechanics. As the years have passed, elevator technology has evolved. New elevators are controlled by computer systems and new elevator technicians are trained to diagnose and repair the new systems, but not the old systems. Thus, as the years go by and more and more older elevator mechanics retire, fewer and fewer remain who know how to properly maintain the old style of elevators. The end result of this reality is that older elevators are getting less and less of the precision maintenance they require. A poorly maintained elevator is a dangerous elevator.

Causes of Elevator Accidents

Miss-leveling, unintended movements and open elevator shafts are the primary causes of elevator injuries. Most commonly these malfunctions are the result of either improper maintenance or a defect in the design or manufacture of the elevator.

Theories of Liability

  • Negligent Maintenance
  • Product Liability
  • Premises (Building Owner) Liability

Likely Defendants in an Elevator Lawsuit

The responsibility for manufacturing and maintaining safe and properly functioning elevators typically lies with the elevator manufacturers, the elevator maintenance companies and the building owners. These entities typically contract with each other outlining exactly who will be responsible for the maintenance and proper functioning of the elevator.

Some of the common elevator manufacturers include:

  • Dover
  • Kone
  • Otis
  • Schindler
  • ThyssenKrupp

Some of these same companies provide maintenance services for the elevators they manufacture.

Escalator Accidents

Escalators are designed, manufactured and maintained by many of the same companies. The above concerns relevant elevator accidents apply equally to escalator malfunctions.