The Dangers of Elevator Malfunction

Elevators have been around for quite some time. When they were first introduced, elevators had to be operated by hand. There were few safety measures in place in the event that an elevator became stuck or started to fall. Modern elevators have more sophisticated safeguards against uncontrolled falls, but many people nonetheless die in elevator-related accidents every year. Unless they are well-maintained and designed to standards, even modern elevators put their occupants at risk.

Due to the way elevators function, they are inherently at risk of an uncontrolled drop. More recent designs use a number of safety systems to prevent that from happening, such as counterweights, emergency brakes, and other mechanisms to halt a falling elevator. Well-designed safety systems can prevent nearly all accidents, but companies that cut corners on their designs or manufacturing may find themselves liable for the deaths of innocent people.

Elevators become stuck more frequently than they experience uncontrolled falls. If the motors cease working for some reason, the default fail-safe behavior is to stop in place. Some elevators are assisted by backup batteries in the event of a blackout to prevent occupants from becoming trapped. Every year there are many cases of people attempting to escape when stuck between floors, only to inadvertently fall down the shaft as they try to make it out.

But elevators can become stuck even when there is not a blackout. If they are not maintained properly, they can lock up and become inoperable, stranding passengers between floors. Emergency telephones inside elevators are meant to help occupants reach help, but it may be hours before they can safely exit. If an elevator's brake mechanism is not properly maintained, it may be at risk of falling down the shaft.

Victims of elevator malfunctions have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and losses. Building owners who do not keep their elevators in good condition can be held responsible for injuries caused by their negligence.