How to Assist Victims of Elevator Accidents in the Chicago Area?
With hundreds of thousands of elevators located throughout the United States, many people use them on a daily basis. Elevators are a quick and convenient form of transportation within a building. However, Chicago elevator accident lawyers know that with such frequent use comes the potential for accidents and injuries. When elevator equipment is not properly maintained or operated in a safe manner, serious accidents can occur.
If you sustain serious injuries in an elevator accident, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. The Chicago premises liability attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. appreciate the accidents and serious injuries that can result from poorly maintained or defectively designed elevators. We fight for the rights of seriously injured victims to maximize recovery from the at-fault party or parties.
What are Common Causes of Elevator Accidents and Injuries?
Elevator accidents occur when elevators are not properly maintained or elevator parts are defective. In either case, one or more of the following can occur:
- The elevator car can drop suddenly, throwing passengers around inside the elevator
- An elevator car can stop above or below the floor where it is supposed to stop
- The elevator doors may fail to retract upon contact
The elevator doors may close too quickly, trapping a person (or their clothing) or crushing a limb or appendage. This can also happen when the elevator’s safety features malfunction.
Fall down accidents can also occur as people enter or exit an elevator. This is especially common among the elderly and others who require special assistance. If the elevator does not stop correctly, it may create a dangerous, uneven ledge. This can cause elevator passengers to trip and fall, injuring themselves.
What is Chicago Elevator Safety?
In Illinois, the Office of the State Fire Marshall has a Division of Elevator Safety. This Division oversees the proper construction, use, and maintenance of elevators throughout the State. This includes the City of Chicago. Special safety rules and regulations are also in place for companies and individuals who construct, own, or repair elevators. By following these regulations, elevator installers and manufacturers can significantly lessen the chances of a serious elevator accident.
What is Duty of Care Owed?
Elevator accidents can occur in any building, including office buildings and freight warehouses. Chicago premises liability claims, including those involving elevator accidents, center around negligence law.
In elevator accident cases, the building owner, elevator manufacturer, maintenance company, or elevator installer could all share in potential liability for an accident. In order to determine negligence, the at-fault party must owe a duty of care to the injured person. The extent of this duty depends upon the injured person’s status on the property.
Invitees in Elevator Accidents
When it comes to liability on the part of a building owner, in most elevator accident cases, the injured passenger is an invitee. This is because the elevator passenger is usually on the premises for the purpose of benefiting someone else.
Invitees are owed the highest duty of care. Building owners must maintain their premises (including the building’s elevators) in a reasonably safe condition. They must warn people invited to the premises of any known hazards. Moreover, building owners should generally inspect their premises (including the elevators) on a regular basis to search for hidden, latent defects.
Maintenance Companies and Installers
Elevator maintenance companies and installers have a duty to perform all of their work in a competent and workmanlike manner. They also have a duty to make sure that once they complete all of their work, the elevator works properly.
Manufacturers and Distributors
Finally, elevator manufacturers and distributors owe a duty to ensure that their product is in good condition when it leaves their hands and enters the stream of commerce. A Chicago premises liability attorney may be able to help you determine who is at fault in your case and file a claim or lawsuit against any and all potentially responsible parties.
Do You Need to Prove an Elevator Accident Premises Liability Case?
In order to prove negligence in an elevator premises liability case, the accident victim must be able to show that the building owner, elevator manufacturer, elevator installer, or maintenance company owed a duty of care. The accident victim must also be able to show that one or more of these individuals or entities violated the applicable duty of care. Lastly, the elevator accident victim must be able to show that this violation directly resulted in all of the injuries and damages about which he or she complains.
The accident victim must also suffer harm that is directly attributable to the property owner’s negligence. A Chicago premises liability attorney may be able to help you prove liability and damages in your elevator accident case.
Res Ipsa Loquitur
In some cases, an elevator accident attorney in Chicago may argue the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. This means the accident would not take place without negligence. To show a res ipsa case, the plaintiff must demonstrate:
- The accident would not occur in the absence of negligence
- The elevator is under the control or management of the defendant
- There is no indication the accident was due to any actions of the plaintiff
Should You Contact a Chicago Elevator Accident Lawyer?
Elevator accidents that occur on someone else’s property can result in serious injuries. Consequently, you may require long-term medical care and other treatment. If you can successfully prove damages in your elevator accident case, you may be able to recover the costs of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as other damages.
If someone dies in an elevator accident, the surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim. Here, the estate may be able to recover compensation for the decedent’s medical costs, funeral expenses, and other damages. A Chicago premises liability attorney at Abels & Annes, P.C. can review the circumstances of your elevator accident and help you explore all of your legal options.
If you’d like a free consultation with a Chicago, Illinois premises liability attorney, please call us today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.