Who to Sue After an Elevator Accident

A woman can't go out of the elevator because of a faulty elevator door

Following an elevator accident and resulting injuries, you may be able to sue various parties who contributed to the accident, including property owners, maintenance companies, and elevator manufacturers. You may do so through a personal injury lawsuit that proves how one or more of these parties’ negligence led to an accident and subsequent damages. Knowing who to sue after an elevator accident helps victims take the first steps in filing a personal injury lawsuit. 

Can You File a Lawsuit After an Elevator Accident?

If another individual or entity caused an elevator accident through negligence or other improper conduct, it may be possible to build and file a successful lawsuit against the responsible party. These lawsuits attempt to prove that certain parties caused an accident that led to defined damages to the plaintiff or his or her loved ones.

It might be more difficult to file a lawsuit under certain circumstances, such as when an elevator simply becomes stuck. It’s often more challenging in these instances to prove that negligence took place and that you suffered definable physical damages. 

Determining Who to Sue After an Elevator Accident

You may be able to file lawsuits against various parties in elevator accident cases. Some examples of potential defendants include:

  • Maintenance staff
  • Engineers
  • Property managers or owners
  • Elevator manufacturers
  • Architects

Other parties you may succeed in filing a lawsuit against include the elevator company staff or sellers. 

Who you sue will ultimately depend on the specific type of case you’re filing. The different types of liability may include the following:

Product Liability

In some cases, elevator accidents and damages may result from negligence on the part of manufacturers due to faulty design or construction. If experts determine that a defect was present in an elevator and that it contributed to an accident, the manufacturer is often the sole liable party, with the inability to claim that the plaintiff contributed in part to the damages he or she sustained. Some product liability cases may also involve a liable retailer if defects are present outside the elevator’s design.

Premises Liability

If a property owner or manager is liable for an elevator accident and resulting damages, the case will involve premises liability. 

In these cases, owners and managers of various properties, such as apartment complexes and businesses, must meet a standard of care for people on the premises. These could include tenants of apartments and residents, along with visitors. Landowners don’t normally owe a duty of care to trespassers, but they may need to compensate these individuals if landowners intentionally cause harm to them.

Specific duties that managers and owners owe could include clearly indicating potential hazards through signage, regularly inspecting the property, and adequately addressing any issues identified at any point. For instance, property owners must fit an elevator with an “Out of Order” sign if it’s not functioning properly and needs repairs.

Negligence

Many elevator accident cases involve the negligence of some kind. These cases involve a specific way in which the defendant was negligent and caused an accident and damages through this negligence.

There are several items that plaintiffs will need to prove in negligence cases. The first is that the defendant owed a duty of care, e.g., that maintenance staff needed to provide sufficient repairs to a broken elevator. The second item is that the defendant breached that duty of care by acting negligently or even with malicious intent. The third element would be proof that the plaintiff suffered one or more injuries and other damages in the elevator accident. Finally, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s breach of duty of care led to these injuries and damages.

To help prove negligence in these cases, you may benefit from working with an elevator accident lawyer with the experience and resources needed to collect and organize evidence.

Recoverable Damages in Elevator Accident Cases

Like other types of personal injury cases, elevator accident cases may involve a variety of economic and non-economic damages. Understanding the different types of elevator injury compensation may help you determine what you may be able to recover in a successful case. 

Economic or Special Damages

Economic damages in elevator accident cases involve all the financial loss that injury victims experience following an accident. These cover all easily quantified costs involved with treating an injury, making a recovery, and accommodating disabilities.

Examples of economic damages in elevator accident cases could include medical expenses, lost wages due to recovery periods or disability, lost earning capacity, and rehabilitation along with ongoing care. 

Non-Economic or General Damages

Victims of elevator accident injuries may also be able to recover non-economic damages in addition to economic damages. These compensate victims for the personal pain and suffering they experience because of their injuries. 

There are various types of non-economic or general damages you may be able to recover, such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium or relationship, and disfigurement. 

Punitive Damages

If gross negligence resulted in an elevator accident, the liable party may need to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. For instance, if an elevator manufacturer was aware of a manufacturing or design defect and failed to properly correct it, accidents resulting from this negligence may warrant punitive damages. This would deter the defendant from engaging in the same negligence in the future and set an example to help prevent similar cases in the future.

Find Out Who to Sue After an Elevator Accident

In the event of an elevator accident, you may be able to sue one or several parties who are liable for the accident. A personal injury lawyer will help you determine who was responsible for an accident, collect evidence to support a lawsuit, and recover full compensation from liable defendants. Knowing who to sue in an elevator accident case can help determine the specific type of case to pursue and how to approach it.

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