Elevators and escalators, together commonly referred to as “Vertical Transportation,” are used on a daily basis by millions of Americans. They usually run smoothly and without incident, transporting riders without a glitch. In fact, vertical transportation is commonly considered the safest method of transportation on a per-mile-basis. However, when elevators and escalators are defectively manufactured or improperly maintained, injuries do happen and can be quite serious.In the United States alone, there are over 17,000 vertical transportation accidents each year, involving the 800,000 elevators and 35,000 escalators found throughout the country. According to noted vertical transportation expert Dr. Stephen Carr, approximately 44% of elevator accidents are due to elevator car and landing misleveling; another 44% due to injuries from closing elevator doors; and an additional 12% of accidents are deadly due to falls down elevator shafts and individuals being crushed by elevator cars. Most elevator accidents result from a few common causes:
- Elevator falls or drops
- Improper door movements or defective safety strips on doors
- Car landing incorrectly, either above or below designated floor
- Improper design
- Improper maintenance
There are four main elevator companies in the US: Otis, an American company; Schindler, a Swiss company; TyssenKrupp, from Germany; and KONE from Finland. In American jurisprudence, owners of vertical transportation equipment are considered “Common Carriers”, just like bus lines and airlines. This means that they are held to a higher duty of care to provide safe transportation to consumers. Since most elevator accidents are caused by deficient maintenance, the owner and/or maintenance company responsible for maintaining that elevator may have breached their high duty of care.
If you have been seriousy injured in an elevator or escalator accident, please seek immediate care for any injuries. The owner of the property should be immediately notified of the incident, as should the Department of Public Safety. It is crucially important to hire a qualified and experienced litigator that is well-versed in vertical transportation cases.
The Tarasenko law firm has the knowledge and expertise to handle your vertical transportation injury case. If you or a loved one has been injured, please call us today for a consultation.