Public places and large commercial properties count on escalators, elevators, and moving walkways to help move large amounts of people from place to place within the building. Like any mechanical item, elevators sometimes break down or are not properly maintained, and a person can be seriously injured and even die from a resulting accident.
Found in shopping centers, airports, railway stations, subway stations, school buildings, office buildings, industrial parks, shopping malls, sporting venues, and commercial buildings, elevators are ubiquitous and quite often dangerous.
U.S. Elevator Accident Statistics
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 17,000 people are injured annually in elevator accidents. Most of these accidents, 60% in fact, occur when the elevator malfunctions. About 30 people die annually from injuries sustained in these types of accidents. 90% of the fatal accidents occur when the elevator malfunctions. Half of the elevator accident deaths affect elevator maintenance personnel. These workers can get caught between moving parts of the elevator platform or get struck by the elevator or counterweight.
Common Elevator Accidents
One of the most common types of elevator malfunctions is for the elevator to stop or start suddenly when it begins to ascend or descend. The stop can be short and abrupt or long and take a plunge. Mechanical or maintenance problems are to blame for these dangerous stops. Surprisingly, however, many of the injuries that occur when an elevator malfunctions in this way are caused when the passengers try to self-rescue.
Below is a list of common causes of elevator accidents:
- Mechanical problems;
- Doors failing to open;
- Climbing out of the elevator car;
- Stepping into an open elevator shaft;
- Getting clothing or personal item caught when the elevator door is closing;
- Elevator doors opening or closing as the person steps out and moving, leaving the person caught in the door;
- Overloading the elevator beyond the recommended weight;
- Defective safety mechanisms fail to function and stop the elevator if the cable snaps;
- In a freefall situation, once the elevator comes to an abrupt stop, the cable and elevator drum equipment crash through the ceiling of the elevator;
- While exiting the elevator, the elevator suddenly shoots up or down before you can step out completely;
- Failure to maintain or install safety equipment in-home elevators (not apartment complexes); and
- Elevator surfing.
Remember to stay in the elevator car if it stops suddenly. Emergency personnel can rescue you and there are additional safety protections in place to keep the elevator cable from snapping.
Injured in an Elevator Accident? Call Louisiana’s Elevator Accident Lawyers
The Louisiana law firm of Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC represents victims of serious elevator and escalator accidents that are caused by the negligence or intentional misconduct of others. When the injuries lead to the death of a loved one, family members may also be able to pursue wrongful death actions in addition to survivor suits.
For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases, including, but not limited to, car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.