Elevator and escalators are mechanical marvels, but when they do not operate properly, they can cause devastating injuries. The reasons for improper operation or any kind of accident involving an elevator or escalator are many. It's knowing the cause that will prove critical to a successful elevator personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer in Seattle can help you understand your case and make sure you proceed in a way that is aligned with your best interests to obtain maximum compensation.
At Law Offices of Paul L Schneiderman, our personal injury attorney in Washington has a thorough understanding of the law and a working knowledge of elevator and escalator mechanics, which is needed to identify the cause of the accident and subsequent injury and to counter any incorrect claims put forth by the defense. If you have suffered an injury from an elevator or escalator accident, schedule a Free Consultation today at 206-464-1952 to learn how we can help you.
How Does an Elevator or Escalator Accident in Seattle Become a Premise Liability Claim?
Premise liability claims are personal injury claims where the injured party was injured on another person or entity's property due to the failure of that property or business owner to take care of the premises as directed by law.
Property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps and following the required laws to keep their elevators and escalators safe for use by others. Relevant laws include laws covering things like the initial approval for installation and continued inspections after installation to ensure proper maintenance. Most jurisdictions require inspections every six to twelve months.
When an elevator or escalator is not properly maintained or fails an inspection, any injury from an accident could be the fault of the property owner through a premises liability claim. Premises liability laws seek to hold property owners responsible for a failure to keep their property, such as an elevator or escalator, safe and free of dangerous conditions.
Who is At Fault for Elevator or Escalator Accidents in Seattle?
Elevator and escalator accidents commonly occur in large buildings, such as government buildings, shopping malls, hotels, large apartment buildings, and office buildings. For that reason, injury claims from these accidents can be complex due to the high stakes and the possibility of multiple at-fault parties.
Property owners are typically required to meet the applicable duty of care for their property to keep any guests or customers safe. Specifically, this duty of care means that the building owners and government agencies where an elevator or escalator exists must keep said structures safe and adequately maintained to prevent injuries.
However, property owners are not the only potentially liable party in an elevator or escalator accident.Parties who lease the space (e.g., business owners) or parties who are responsible for the installation or maintenance of the elevator or escalator could also be at fault. In sum, any of the following may be responsible by causing or contributing to the accident:
- the injured party
- property owner
- property management
- business owner
- elevator manufacturer
- maintenance company
For example, failures to complete the state-required inspections or provide the proper repairs and maintenance of an elevator or escalator could establish a breach of the relevant duty of care and subject a property owner and/or a third party to liability for accidents.
Common Washington Elevator Malfunctions & Accidents
Elevators include many complicated parts and machinery that can fail, especially with negligent installation, maintenance, or inspection. Any slight malfunction in one of the many parts of an elevator could result in a significant accident. But also, accidents are caused by human-error, too. Multiple factors can contribute to an accident, and that's why it's critical to identify all the pieces that led or contributed to the accident.
Common causes associated with elevator accidents include:
- door malfunctions
- intallation issues
- maintenance issues
- passenger issues
- door entrapment
- clothing entanglements
- car entrapment
- slippery surfaces
- inadequate safety rails
- improper rope maintenace
- defective overspeed governor, a device used to stop an elevator in the event it starts traveling beyond an acceptable speed
Common Washington Escalator Malfunctions & Accidents
Escalator malfunctions and accidents are also commonly caused by both technical and huma error. Common causes associates with escalator accidents include:
- installation issues
- maintenance issues
- missing steps
- crowd panic
- unexpected speed
- unexpected direction changes
Determining the cause of an escalator accident is crucial to seek compensation from the responsible parties. Unfortunately, determining the cause and liable parties is rarely an easy process and often requires an extensive investigation.
Do You Need a Premise Liability Attorney in Seattle for an Elevator or Escalator Accident?
Although a premises liability attorney is not required to pursue a claim involving damages from an elevator or escalator accident, such claims are often complex and difficult for non-lawyers to successfully complete. You could get a quick settlement, but that settlement may not represent full and fair compensation. In a worse case scenario, you could experience the responsible party claim that another party is liable, and the latter party claim the same. You could be sent on wild goose chases when all you want is fair compensation and all they want is to exhaust you.
A personal injury lawyer in Seattle with experience in premises liability law will be able to identify (1) the cause of the elevator or escalator accident, and (2) the liable parties. The attorney will use experts to reconstruct the accident and determine percentages of liability in cases where there are multiple liable parties. At Law Offices of Paul L Schneiderman, we devote our resources and time to making sure each client gets what they deserve in terms of compensation and recovery.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney in Washington Today
Many elevator or escalator accident claims involve large companies or government entities, which increases the chances of complications throughout the case. As such, a premises liability attorney could make a significant difference in securing a favorable result, including fair compensation. Call Law Offices of Paul L Schneiderman today at 206-464-1952 to schedule a Free Consultation.