When most people think of elevator accidents, the worst-case scenario often comes to mind, with the elevator plunging multiple stories. These types of accidents usually result in significant injury or death. But there are other, smaller elevator accidents that still injure many people every year.
Of these, two common accidents are elevator doors closing improperly, and elevators posing hazards due to uneven leveling. Elevator doors are engineered with safety mechanisms such that the doors should not close if a person or a person’s body part is in the way. When these mechanisms fail, a person can be injured if the body part is pinned between the closing door and the edge of the elevator. Elevator doors are heavy enough to inflict serious injury, either lacerations or broken bones.
Elevators and elevator shafts suffering from uneven leveling pose multiple types of risks. One is the likelihood of a trip and fall accident, as the person entering or exiting the elevator does not anticipate a depth change while stepping into or out of the car. Improperly leveled elevators can also come to abrupt stops or stop unevenly, causing people in the car to fall.
Making a case against the landlord or elevator installer is now easier in New Jersey, as the State Supreme Court ruled on July 17th, 2018 that expert witnesses are not necessary in cases where common experience dictates an expected outcome, such as when elevator doors close on a person instead of remaining open as they should.
If you have been injured in an elevator accident, recognizing what reasonable expectations of safety might have been violated is important. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case. A qualified lawyer can guide you through the process of determining the entity responsible for the elevator’s safety.