Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Across the country, there are thousands of accidents involving elevators and escalators annually. Many of these accidents result in serious injury or even death. Sometimes, the victim of an elevator or escalator accident is a person who is attempting to repair or perform a maintenance task on the device, but the general public is also at risk. If you or a person you love has been hurt in an elevator or escalator accident in an office complex, shopping mall, hotel, resort, or other building, you should consult a premises liability attorney to explore your options. The experienced Pembroke Pines elevator accident lawyers at Cohn & Smith can help you seek compensation from the responsible party.Pursuing Compensation for an Elevator or Escalator Accident
Litigation arising from elevator and escalator accidents may be very complex. In addition to the general law of premises liability, there may be specific codes and regulations pertaining to the device in question. Furthermore, issues concerning the correct installation and proper maintenance of elevators and escalators may involve not only factual testimony from lay witnesses but also complex evidence obtained through expert witnesses, such as engineers or safety personnel. Typically, the discovery phase in an elevator or escalator accident case is lengthy and involves the review of many documents and other pieces of evidence, such as security video, maintenance records, inspection reports, and more.
There is an alarming number of ways in which elevator and escalator accidents can occur, but some of the more common mechanisms in elevator mishaps include sudden and unexpected acceleration or deceleration, defective governors, communication failures, mis-leveling, entrapment, improper maintenance of the hoist cable, or the failure of a safety device. In escalator accident cases, improper services or faulty installation can lead to many problems. Young people are frequently the victims of escalator accidents, sometimes because of the lack of a safety device designed to prevent injuries to small and vulnerable children. An innocent person – especially a child – should not have to suffer injuries because of a lack of proper safety equipment, faulty machinery, unsatisfactory maintenance, or insufficient inspections.
In lawsuits arising from elevator and escalator accidents, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant’s negligence. This requires the plaintiff to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed a legal duty of care, that the duty was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages like medical expenses or lost income, and that there was a causal relationship between the breach of duty and the damages. Depending upon the circumstances, the plaintiff may be able to recover monetary damages from the owner of the property upon which the accident occurred, the manufacturer of the elevator or escalator, the company responsible for maintenance on the device, and any other party whose negligence contributed to the accident.
In some premises liability lawsuits in which a defendant is alleged to have been negligent, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff was also at fault in the accident. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault doctrine, a plaintiff’s damages award may be reduced proportionately to his or her percentage of fault in an accident, including an elevator or escalator accident. For instance, if a jury finds a plaintiff to have been 20% at fault and to have suffered $250,000 in damages, the plaintiff still can receive up to $200,000 from any defendant that is found liable.Retain an Experienced Elevator Accident Lawyer in the Pembroke Pines Area
The statute of limitations controls the time within which an injured person may file a negligence lawsuit, as well as the time period during which a family who has lost a loved one may file a wrongful death claim. It is imperative to discuss your or your loved one’s accident with an attorney as soon as possible. It takes a considerable amount of time to investigate an elevator or escalator accident and to properly prepare the paperwork necessary to bring a claim. To get started on your case, set up a free consultation with a Pembroke Pines elevator accident attorney at Cohn & Smith online or by calling (954) 431-8100. We represent people throughout South Florida who need an injury attorney, including in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Davie, Weston, Sunrise, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Aventura, and cities throughout North Dade County.