If you are injured in an elevator or escalator accident, there are several potential defendants who might be liable for your injuries. However, where liability attaches depends greatly on the circumstances of the accident and the relationship between the office building’s ownership and the escalator or elevator. Few building owners maintain their elevators or escalators themselves; they subcontract that work to a maintenance company. Therefore, the building ownership might only be liable if they:
- Failed to contract with a reputable maintenance company for inspections and repairs
- Failed to respond to users’ complaints about the elevator or escalator
- Somehow interfered with regularly scheduled inspection and maintenance
- Failed to respond when passengers were trapped in an elevator or injured by an elevator or escalator
Ownership can also be liable for negligent actions by an elevator attendant when such carelessness causes injuries.
If the injury is due to a mechanical failure, fault for the injury could also lie with:
- The designer
- The manufacturer
- The installer
- The maintenance company
Elevator injuries from doors slamming shut on a person, sudden movements or “free falls,” or doors opening when an elevator car is between floors are clearly due to mechanical problems. However, there are some instances when a rider can also be at fault. If an elevator gets stuck, riders should stay calm and remain inside the car. Riders who attempt to escape through the roof of the elevator or by prying the doors open can expose themselves to greater harm. Depending on the circumstances, a court could find the riders were also negligent in causing injury to themselves.
Finally, an escalator accident can be little more than a staircase accident, caused by debris on a stair, a misstep by a careless rider, or a rude shove from another rider. It’s important for the victim to pinpoint the cause exactly and identify the proper defendant for a lawsuit.
Elevator and escalator accidents are rare, but they can inflict catastrophic injuries. The premises liability lawyers at Seigel Law are ready to assist victims of elevator and escalator accidents in Bergen County or anywhere in New Jersey. Contact us online or call 201.444.4000 today for a free case evaluation.