Elevators have become a normal part of our everyday lives. If a building in Los Angeles has more than few stories, it likely contains at least one elevator to take occupants from one floor to another. While elevators have become much safer over the years, they can still pose a serious threat of death and great bodily harm. If you have been injured in a Los Angeles elevator accident you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys can help to get you the money you need to recover from you elevator accident injuries.
The Citywide Law Group has been helping injured clients in the Los Angeles area for nearly a decade. During that time, we have handled a variety of complex personal injury matters, including those related to devastating elevator accidents. We know that the compensation our clients recover from a personal injury claim may be necessary to achieve a full recovery, and will aggressively fight to maximize the settlement or award you get. Contact our Los Angeles elevator accident injury attorneys today to set up a free consultation. We will review your case, determine liability, and explain the process of filing a claim.
Understanding Elevator Accidents
Elevator Accident Statistics
Each year, elevator accidents are responsible for causing nearly 27 deaths and more than 10,000 serious injuries. Some of these deaths and injuries affect people who are actively using an elevator. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the majority of the victims of elevator accidents are people who are working on or near elevators.
Causes of Elevator Accident Injuries and Deaths
Elevator accidents can happen for a number of reasons. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the most common causes of elevator accident injuries and deaths include:
- Falling into an elevator shaft;
- Getting caught between moving parts of an elevator;
- Collapsing elevator structures;
- Collapsing elevator platforms;
- Equipment malfunctions;
- Inadequate inspection and maintenance; and
- Being struck by elevators or counterweights.
Common Elevator Accident Injuries
Elevator accidents may not be the most frequent occurrence, but victims who are injured in elevator accidents are at risk of suffering great bodily harm, disfigurement, permanent disability, and even death. Commonly reported Los Angeles elevator accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Loss of limbs;
- Quadriplegia; and
Why Should I Hire an Elevator Accident Attorney?
The time following a serious elevator accident will be stressful and overwhelming. Filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles can be complicated, and is best handled by an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney. You should be focused on your own personal physical, emotional, and mental recovery after your accident. If a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident, you should be able to spend the majority of your time helping them on their road to recovery. When you hire an attorney to handle your claim you make yourself (and your family) the number one priority. You can focus on getting better while your attorney handles the complex legal claim.
Not only will hiring an attorney make the process less stressful, but will also increase your chances of maximizing your recovery. This can be incredibly important, because elevator accident injuries are often extremely expensive. You may have suffered injuries that require extensive medical care, rehabilitation, prescription medication, and other costly expenses. Your injury may require you to miss time at work, and can even result in a reduced earning capacity. A lawsuit can help you recoup these costs, and an attorney can make sure that you get each and every cent you need and deserve.
What Damages Can I Recover in an Elevator Accident Lawsuit?
In Los Angeles, victims of elevator accidents may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. The type of damages you will be able to recover will depend on the types of injuries and harms you have suffered.
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for the unexpected financial consequences of your injury. When you ask for economic damages, you must be able to prove that you have suffered financial costs or are likely to suffer financial costs. These costs must be documented and verified. Common examples of economic damages include:
- Prescription medications;
- Nursing care;
- Lost wages; and
- Reduced earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate you for other injuries and harms you have suffered because of your Los Angeles elevator accident. It is difficult to assign a standard monetary value to these injuries and harms. As a result, the amounts awarded for non-economic damages can vary considerably from case-to-case. Commonly requested non-economic damages in Los Angeles elevator accident claims include:
- Emotional distress;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of consortium;
- Disfigurement; and
Who Is Liable For My Elevator Accident Injuries?
Elevator accidents can happen for a variety of different reasons. Liability will depend on what caused the accident to occur. In Los Angeles, a victim of an elevator accident can recover compensation from any party that is determined to be responsible for an accident. Since elevators are complex pieces of machinery, there are many potentially liable parties if an accident occurs.
Property owners have a duty to ensuring that their premises are safe. When an elevator accident occurs, the owner of the property may be responsible for resulting injuries if they failed to make sure that the elevator did not pose a risk of foreseeable harm. Property owners can be liable if they were negligent in the inspection and maintenance of their premises. This could mean that the property owner did not hire an elevator expert or company to routinely inspect the elevators on their property. This could also mean that the property owner knew of a danger related to an elevator and failed to take steps to fix it.
Elevator Maintenance and Installation Companies
Elevator maintenance companies are hired to install, inspect, maintain, and repair elevators. These companies are hired because they understand complex machinery and how to make it work properly. An elevator maintenance company may be liable for negligence after an elevator accident if they failed to inspect, maintain, or fix an elevator properly or in a timely manner.
Any company that manufactures an item can be held liable for injuries that are caused by defects or inherently dangerous conditions. Manufacturers can be held strictly liable (meaning that no proof of negligence is required) if the elevator has a design defect or manufacturing defect, or if that company failed to warn users of known risks associated with using their elevator.
Workers’ Compensation Claims for Work-Related Elevator Accident Injuries
If you have been injured by an elevator while you were on the job you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. workers’ compensation is basically a type of insurance that your employer carries to pay for work-related injuries. When you apply for workers’ compensation you waive your right to file a lawsuit against your employer, unless the accident was the result of gross negligence or wanton disregard for your safety.
Collecting workers’ compensation benefits does not, however, prohibit you from filing a lawsuit against a third party who may be responsible. This means that you may be able to collect workers’ compensation from your employer and recover damages from a liable third party (e.g., manufacturer or another person who contributed to the accident).
Workers who may be likely to be injured by an elevator while at work include employees who:
- Use or work near a grain elevator;
- Actively work to repair broken elevators;
- Inspect potentially dangerous elevators;
- Work in areas in close proximity to an elevator;
- Clean areas in and around elevators; and
- Install elevators.
What Should I Do After My Los Angeles Elevator Accident?
Your first thought after a serious Los Angeles elevator accident may not be that you are going to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, it is important to document your accident in the event that you do decide to pursue compensation for your injuries. If you are involved in an elevator accident you should take the following steps.
See a Doctor
It is important to document your injuries as soon as possible after your accident. This will help to make sure that you are suffering any threatening internal injuries and help to you to establish a case if you pursue compensation.
Get an Accident and/or Police Report
Accident and police reports are great for documenting information that can be lost or forgotten over time. These reports may not be admissible as evidence in court, but can help to give your attorney a starting point in their independent investigation.
Take Photos of the Scene
Some accident scenes may disappear before your attorney will have a chance to see it with their own eyes, and some accident/police reports may not include quality images. You can gather evidence for your personal injury claim by taking multiple photographs of the elevator accident scene.
Call an Attorney
Insurance companies will try to get you to agree to accept a low-ball settlement offer. These companies are not on your side and will do everything they can to minimize the amount(s) they pay out to you for your injuries. If you speak to them before consulting with an attorney they may manipulate the things you say to deny any claims you submit. Hiring an attorney will help to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you deserve.
Los Angeles Elevator Accident Attorneys
Have you suffered injuries because of a Los Angeles elevator accident? If you have, you may be entitled to damages to compensate for medical expenses, emotional distress, and lost wages. Contact the Citywide Law Group today to find out how we can help maximize the compensation you recover from a personal injury accident claim. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim, so it is important to act quickly. Do not hesitate to call us today.