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  • Elevator Accident Statistics in Los Angeles: The Hidden Dangers

    Elevator Accident Statistics in Los Angeles: The Hidden Dangers

Elevators are one of the most widely used modes of transportation today. Often found on cruise ships, in malls, office buildings, residential buildings, and other popular locations, millions of people around the world use elevators every day.

Though Safe, Accidents on Elevators Can Happen

While elevators are generally considered safe, elevator accidents do happen, and they are more common than one might think. In Los Angeles, there are upwards of 20,000 elevators throughout the city. In 2018, Los Angeles firefighters responded to over 3,000 calls related to elevator accidents or elevator malfunction.

Injuries involving elevators can be serious. If an individual is involved in an elevator accident in Los Angeles, personal injury lawyers can help file an elevator accident lawsuit and walk them through the legal process.

Common Types of Elevator Accidents

In Los Angeles, 144 accidents that caused injuries were reported annually over ten years, from 2007 to 2016. While this total also includes escalator accidents, it is still a relatively high number.

Some of the most common types of elevator accidents include speed malfunctions, free falls, falling into elevator shafts, electrocution, unbalanced leveling, and defective doors.

Speed Malfunctions

There may be times when a speed malfunction occurs. When an elevator reaches a speed that is determined to be faster than it should, it can cause serious physical and emotional distress for all those involved.

Being trapped inside a speeding elevator can be scary. If the elevator reaches high speeds and the braking system does not work, it can crash, causing serious injuries or death for those trapped inside. Even if the elevator doesn’t hit the bottom, high speeds can jolt passengers around inside, which can perpetuate injuries.

Free Falls

A free fall occurs when the elevator quickly rushes up or down the elevator shaft. This can be caused by a snapped wire or a faulty elevator track. If the elevator plummets to the bottom at a high speed, it can be a very dangerous and deadly situation for those trapped inside.

Elevator Shaft Falls

Another common type of elevator accident involves falling into the shaft. This type of accident can cause some of the most serious injuries or death.

The elevator shaft is the space in which an elevator box travels up and down from floor to floor. A person may fall into the shaft if the equipment malfunctions, if management does not post signage about maintenance work, or if they are rescued by untrained personnel from a stalled elevator. Other factors may also come into play with this type of elevator accident.


Another common type of elevator accident involves electrocution. Often, this involves a maintenance worker who does not block off the exposed area or post adequate signage while performing routine maintenance.

Exposed electrical systems and faulty wiring can pose a significant threat to both maintenance workers and the general public. Exposed wires can cause fires, burns, or other serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Unbalanced Leveling

Unbalanced leveling refers to when an elevator stops a few feet above or below where it should. The elevator box is then misaligned with the floor. When this unbalanced leveling occurs, it can cause individuals to trip and fall, which can lead to serious injuries. The elderly and small children are especially vulnerable to these types of elevator accidents as they are more likely to lose their footing and fall.

Defective Doors

Common elevator accident injuries may also involve defective doors. Typically, elevators have built-in sensors that detect when someone is entering or exiting. These sensors also monitor how quickly the door closes.

Sometimes, these sensors malfunction, causing an individual to get caught in the door. Also, if these safety sensors malfunction, they can also cause the door to open earlier or later than it is supposed to. If the door opens too early or too late, it can cause someone to fall.

Common Elevator Accident Injuries

Elevator accidents are nothing to joke about. These types of accidents can cause serious injury or death and they happen more often than most may think.

The most common types of injuries caused by elevators include:

  • Head, neck, and spine trauma
  • Broken bones and potentially severed limbs
  • Bruises, cuts, and other open wounds
  • Bone fractures
  • Death.

If property owners fail to report safety concerns or repair broken elevators, this can open the door for a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can work with elevator accident and escalator accident victims to best determine the next steps.

What Causes Elevator Accidents?

Elevator accidents can be caused by a wide range of factors. Most elevator accidents and escalator accidents, however, are caused by engineering issues, poor or lacking maintenance, and workplace safety issues.

Engineering Issues

At times, there may be engineering issues that cause elevator accidents or escalator accidents. While the consumer product safety commission serves to protect the public from these types of issues, they still can and do occur.

The consumer product safety commission is a federal entity that serves to protect the public from the risk of injury or death from different types of consumer products – including elevators. This entity’s oversight includes products that cause fires, electrocution, or chemical or mechanical hazards. Their focus is on protecting the general population and anything that can, specifically, harm children.

Despite the oversight, elevator manufacturers may still sell elevators with faulty engineering systems. Engineering issues can pose an injury risk to both workers and riders.

Poor or Lacking Maintenance

Elevator accidents are most often caused by poor or improper maintenance. Business owners are responsible for all elevator maintenance, though, at times, they may fail to provide this.

Elevator Inspections

In an elevator, there is a piece of paper with a date that indicates the last date of inspection. Elevator inspections happen annually and help to ensure that the elevator car, elevator doors, and all other components are in good working order.

The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety

The Los Angeles County Department of Building and Safety has an elevator division that employs inspectors. Their job is to go out and inspect the many elevators that are located throughout the city.

With over 20,000 elevators scatted throughout the city, however, this can be challenging. In fact, as of 2019, almost half of the city’s elevators had gone past the date of inspection.

According to the County’s Department of Building and Safety records, approximately 45% of elevators in the city were past due. This is largely due to staffing shortages and the department’s botched filing system.

Staffing Shortages

Inspecting so many elevators in Los Angeles requires a lot of manpower. Unfortunately, as of 2019, there were only 15 inspectors who could perform this duty on over 20,000 elevators.

Since Los Angeles continues to grow, this small staff also faces a growing list of new developments. With these new developments come even more elevators, so their task list continues to grow but the staffing list doesn’t.

Without enough inspectors, elevators are not always being expected on an annual basis as they should. This, combined with other factors, is a recipe for disaster that can lead to an elevator accident lawsuit and personal injury claim.

Poor Filing System

Additionally, the city faced issues back in 2019 with a poor filing system. It was a combination of electronic and paper filing that did not always ensure the proper documentation of elevator maintenance in Los Angeles. Because of this, there were questions about whether completed inspections were up to par or thorough.

Between staffing issues and poor filing, the city’s elevators may not have been given the time and attention needed to protect the public and ensure safety. Again, this opens up the door for elevator accidents and potentially an elevator accident lawsuit.

Additional Issues

In addition to staffing shortages and poor filing, there are some additional issues the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety faces concerning elevator upkeep in the city.

One such issue, in 2019, was that certain businesses and property owners were requesting specific inspectors to come to conduct their inspections. This was an issue concerning staffing. However, there were also questions raised about the integrity of the inspections being performed by those requested.

Another ongoing issue is that it can be difficult to track major code violations. If something was or is reported, it can be hard to determine if the issue was ever addressed.

Lastly, there is not enough information provided to the general public about how to report elevator issues. There is rarely any signage or any information posted in elevators that can provide support to those looking to file a report.

Workplace Safety Issues

Workplace safety issues can also cause an elevator accident. When elevator maintenance is being performed, it is up to the worker and the business owner to ensure that people are made aware. Proper signage must be used, and the area must be closed off to the public if needed.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have regulations that property owners must follow concerning elevator safety, maintenance, and repairs.

These regulations include:

  • Not using an elevator with any defects that may pose safety concerns
  • Elevator safety mechanisms cannot be overridden or disconnected
  • Inspections must be conducted by trained personnel annually
  • When an elevator is not in place, doors, gates, and other barriers must be used to prevent individuals from falling down the shaft
  • The maximum posted weight limit should not be exceeded
  • Elevators should only be operated (as needed) by designated, trained persons.

If property owners do not comply with these standards and fail to provide the proper safety precautions and training, they could be held liable for any escalator accidents that occur.

An Experienced LA Attorney Can Help

An experienced attorney in Los Angeles can help elevator accident victims attain the settlement they need to recoup lost wages, pay for medical expenses, and compensate for lost time.

Working with a Personal Injury Attorney Following an Elevator Accident

Despite a company’s best efforts, elevator accidents do still happen, and they happen more frequently than one may think. With so many elevators scattered throughout Los Angeles, accidents are bound to occur. Luckily, a personal injury attorney can help.

Selecting a Firm

The moments following an elevator accident matter. It is critical that once an accident does occur, the victim or the loved ones of the victim contact a personal injury attorney right away.

With so many personal injury lawyers, it can be challenging to select the right firm. However, this is critically important. Individuals seeking guidance for a personal injury or wrongful death claim will want to pick a firm that is credible, responsive to the client’s needs, and committed to providing high-quality care and support.

Credibility is Key

Following an elevator accident, an individual will want to find a law firm that is both credible, reputable, and well-established. Since 2005, the legal team at Ehline Law Firm has been helping hundreds of clients navigate the personal injury claim and wrongful death process with ease.

Ehline Law is Credible and Caring

Ehline Law Firm is a nationally recognized, award-winning personal injury firm that provides a wide range of services in multiple U.S. courts. The firm is guided by three core values which include: honor, courage, and commitment. These core values serve as guiding principles in the work they do with each client they serve.

These values stem from the law firm’s founder, Michael Ehline, who started his career as a Marine before becoming an attorney. Michael Ehline knows the value of hard work, honor, courage, and commitment and exemplifies those values in the work he does every day.

He is fully committed to ensuring elevator accident victims and their families receive the care and support they so desperately need following this unfortunate event.

Responsive to Client Needs

When selecting a law firm to work with following an elevator accident, responsiveness is also critically important. A good personal injury attorney should understand what a client is going through following an accident and be empathetic to their needs.

They should also be accessible. This is an important component of the client-attorney relationship. The personal injury attorneys at Ehline Law Firm provide a free initial consultation to all prospective clients. This is the first touchpoint the attorney has with a potential client. It provides an opportunity for the attorney to review the details of the case and for the victim to address any questions or concerns they may have.

They are also on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to client inquiries and concerns. This makes it extremely easy for elevator accident victims or their families to get in touch with an attorney quickly and easily.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Ehline Law Firm has over 15 locations throughout California which makes them more accessible than some other personal injury firms and better able to respond quickly and efficiently to client requests.

A Commitment to Providing High-Quality Care and Support

Besides being aggressive in the courtroom, Ehline Law Firm’s team of personal injury attorneys are compassionate and dedicated to providing the highest quality care and support to their clients.

In serving over 3,000 clients and securing over $150,000,000 in financial compensation for accident victims, the attorneys are Ehline Law Firm are committed to ensuring justice is served. They listen to their clients’ needs and provide clear and direct communication throughout the legal process. Additionally, they educate clients along the way so the process becomes a bit easier to navigate and understand.

Financially, Michael Ehline and the team at Ehline Law Firm have a policy that prevents them from charging any legal fees until they secure financial compensation for the customer. They also pay for any necessary investigation or accident report costs that incur while a client’s claim is processing. The attorneys at Ehline Law Firm will even help clients locate a lien medical professional during this time. This saves the client a lot of time and helps ease the emotional and financial burden following an elevator accident.

How Attorneys Can Help with Personal Injury Claims

Once a client selects the best personal injury lawyer for their needs, the attorney will work alongside the client to pull together all the required documentation and evidence needed to file a personal injury claim.

After a client signs the agreement to enter into a relationship with a personal injury attorney at Ehline Law Firm, the lawyer will then build a case. They’ll prepare all the necessary documentation, find insurance coverage, and share the evidence with the insurance company. They will facilitate the conversation with the insurance adjuster, argue the case, and ensure that a fair settlement is attained. They will not stop until justice has been served.

In the moments following an elevator accident, an individual may feel overwhelmed with fear, panic, and confusion. Beyond the initial impact, elevator accident victims and their families may face physical, emotional, and financial strain as medical bills pile up on the road to recovery.

Michael Ehline, Esq, a former U.S. Marine Trial Lawyer, is lead counsel and one of the best in the business. Known for his selfless service, he has personally helped thousands of clients suffering from horrific accidents and injuries attain generous settlements throughout California. He is committed to ensuring every client gets the personalized care they seek and the justice they deserve.

How Attorneys Can Help with Wrongful Death Claims

If an elevator accident has claimed the life of a loved one, the personal injury attorneys at Ehline Law Firm can help file a wrongful death claim. They support customers throughout Los Angeles County and across the United States in securing the representation they need for this traumatic and life-changing event.

We Are Attentive Listeners

There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one. However, when negligence is the cause, it can add a whole new layer of emotion to an already difficult situation. Not only do the lawyers at Ehline Law Firm provide an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, but they also provide a hand to hold throughout the legal process.

In situations involving wrongful death, state and federal laws will dictate questions that will determine how and if a family member can seek compensation for the loss of their loved one. The personal injury attorneys at Ehline Law Firm not only help clients pull together all the necessary paperwork, but also navigate the process to secure the financial recovery they deserve.

Though individuals should not be afraid to travel on elevators or escalators, as they are relatively safe modes of transportation, accidents can and do still occur.

The attorneys at Ehline Law Firm can be a valuable resource following an elevator accident. Whether it is personal injury or wrongful death, the team at Ehline Law Firm in Los Angeles can provide the support needed to the individual affected by this unfortunate event.

Michael Eline and his team of highly-skilled, top-rated attorneys have helped hundreds of clients secure multi-million dollar settlements following motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites, spinal cord injuries, wrongful death, and more.

Their team of attorneys, specializing in injury claims resulting from an elevator malfunction or escalator accident, can help victims or their loved ones navigate the legal process and ensure justice is served.

Contact the Attorneys at Ehline Law Firm Following an Elevator Accident Today

From filing the paperwork to facilitating conversations with the insurance company, Michael Ehline and his team walk alongside the client throughout the entire process. They educate, communicate, and ensure the financial, emotional, and physical burden is lifted from the shoulders of the victim.

They serve as the sole voice for the victim throughout the legal process. Aggressive in nature, but with compassionate hearts, the attorneys at Ehline Law Firm become a client’s most trusted partners and advocates. Ehline Law Firm will not stop fighting on behalf of accident victims and their families until financial justice is served. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact Michael Ehline and the team of professionals at Ehline Law Firm for assistance on all legal matters today at 562-731-0668.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.