Elevators help millions of people each day access upper or lower floors in buildings, so it is natural to wonder if elevators are a safe mode of travel. While many people do ride elevator cars without incident, sometimes elevators can cause injury or even death. In the event an elevator causes harm to a New Jersey resident, the property owner could be held liable.
According to FindLaw, elevator accidents that cause physical injuries have the greatest potential for a premises liability lawsuit. Sometimes an elevator may malfunction and suddenly drop down several stories. The abrupt halt of the elevator car can bounce passengers and inflict injuries that may take weeks or months to heal. Some people might even suffer permanent disabilities as the result of an elevator injury.
Some elevator incidents do not cause physical harm. A person might ride an elevator when the car abruptly jams and traps the rider inside until the car is reactivated or help arrives. The rider may wish to sue due to the emotional havoc of being trapped in an elevator car, but such a suit may prove more challenging than if the person had suffered a physical injury.
Courts may judge an entrapment case based on several factors. If your emotional distress did not result from a physical injury, a judge might not find in your favor. However, courts may find a prolonged confinement in an elevator to warrant compensation. Additionally, some people suffer from claustrophobia, which can make a trapped elevator experience especially traumatizing.
Individuals who suffer due to a malfunctioning elevator could have a case against the owner of the property due to neglecting the proper maintenance of the elevator. Additionally, an elevator accident victim may have a claim against the company that performed recent maintenance on the elevator for not finding the malfunction or for not repairing it.
Elevator injuries can take many forms, so do not consider this article as legal advice. It is written to educate readers on premises liability topics.