Assisting Victims of Elevator Accidents in the Chicago Area
With hundreds of thousands of elevators located throughout the United States, many people use elevators on a daily basis. Elevators are a quick and convenient form of transportation within a building. However, with frequent use comes the potential for accidents and injuries. When elevator equipment is not properly maintained or operated in a safe manner, serious accidents—and even deaths—can occur.
If you have sustained serious injuries in an elevator accident caused by someone else’s negligence, 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.
Common Causes of Elevator Accidents
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, much like in a serious car crash.
- The 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) in the elevator door or crushing a limb or appendage. This can also happen when the elevator’s safety features malfunction.
Slip and fall 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, which can cause elevator passengers to trip, fall, and injure themselves.
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 – including in the City of Chicago. Special safety rules and regulations are also in place for companies and individuals who construct, own, or repair elevators in the State. By following these regulations, elevator installers and manufacturers can significantly lessen the chances of a serious elevator accident.
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.
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 benefitting 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 and 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.
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. 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.
Proving 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.
Proving negligence in premises liability cases can sometimes be difficult. This is because the building owner must ordinarily know about the defect and have a reasonable opportunity to warn about it or correct it. 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.
Call a Chicago Premises Liability Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
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 a loved one dies as a result of a serious elevator accident, the surviving family members may be able to open an estate and bring a wrongful death claim. In a wrongful death claim, 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 with you and help you explore all of your legal options.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois premises liability attorney, please call us today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.