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Date Modified: June 12, 2023

Do you need help bringing an elevator accident lawsuit or workers compensation claim with help from an experienced attorney? We handle all premises liability practice areas and are available 24/7 to discuss your potential injury claims.

Los Angeles Elevator Accident Attorney Injured by an Elevator?

Elevators revolutionized the industrialized world, allowing massive vertical transport along dozens of floors in high rises cruise vessel decks, commercial buildings, and structures. (Some hoists are specialized for vertically lifting heavy freight). Since we started practicing law in 2005, our elevator accident attorneys in Los Angeles have seen great lift technology advances.

Patron in an elevator image. Elevator with finger pushing floor buttons.

And with that, we have also seen a rise in elevator and escalator accidents across the Golden State. For Example, some modern elevators convey passengers sideways and travel up and down. Many modern elevators are safer than past models (albeit older structures still use old elevators as part of our everyday lives). When an elevator accident occurs, serious injuries or wrongful death are a consequence.

If you suffered injuries from elevator malfunctions, take some time to read this article to avoid the danger of elevator accidents.

Below, our top-notch lawyers discuss your “stuck-in elevator lawsuit” needs, including the payment of compensation for common elevator accident injuries after an elevator malfunction. Let’s discuss Los Angeles elevator accidents and the consequences of failing to repair broken elevators. Ultimately, we will offer some bonus information and offer you a free case evaluation with a top-rated, multi-million dollar advocate to discuss your situation. Elevator accidents are our specialty and claim to fame.

Why Hire Ehline Law Firm’s Experienced Los Angeles Elevator Accident Injury Attorneys?

Ehline Law takes on many elevator-related accidents. Our founder’s years of experience in law practice dealing with multi-story lift claims and a complex litigation paralegal will be advantageous. What are some other reasons we are your best choice for a local Los Angeles accident law firm?

  • We offer a free consultation before beginning our attorney-client relationship.
  • We have won over $100 million for happy clients
  • No win, no fee promise for all elevator accidents
  • Our lead attorney, Michael Ehline, has over 20 years of legal experience in elevator accidents
  • Our elevator injury law firm employs specialists handling more fabulous LA area premises liability claims.
  • Our California-based associates maintain the localized expertise
  • We are famous for better settlement acquisition for Los Angeles elevator accidents
  • Our world-famous, stellar reputation is known in local courts and by liability insurance adjusters.

Our award-winning accident lawyers understand that you may have been trapped in a building along Wilshire Blvd. or another location like Beverly Hills, CA. (imagine being claustrophobic with no lights, restroom, or heater, freezing.).

Our years of valuable, hands-on experience as charismatic Los Angeles elevator accident attorneys help victims file insurance claims against negligent people. People we help you make claims against include persons responsible for inspecting, documenting, and addressing equipment malfunctions. (Ex: Was janitorial cleanliness in place? If so, was it designed to prevent slips, trips, and falls, especially during rainy weather?)

If you or a loved one suffered a Los Angeles malfunctioning elevator catastrophic loss, online sources would present you with many helpful options for legal counsel. But when you want the best Los Angeles elevator attorney to acquire the compensation you deserve, you’ll heed the below information. For this reason, we offer a free consultation at (213) 596-9642 to review your potential legal matter or workers compensation claim.

Technology, Elevator, and Escalator Accidents

These machines still have bugs that can lead to a moving stairway or elevator malfunction, even with timely repairs. So it remains a costly liability risk for many property owners. Most cases we help with involve injuries in older, run-down elevators. Most of you know these ubiquitous machines can cause severe injuries or massive-scale wrongful death in the Los Angeles area. Lack of inspection and maintenance is a threat to most people.

  • Children: Also, passengers and tiny children trapped while riding inside elevators risk severe crush injuries, injuries to fingers, and hands, broken legs, dislocated joints, or head injuries. Imagine the elevator moving with your limb trapped between floors and the injuries suffered like internal bleeding.
  • Others: Dozens of people riding elevators become trapped, fall, or get thrown to the ground every year riding these machines. Some injured elevator riders face isolation, stuck inside an elevator bank for hours or days. Our award-winning attorneys ensure that the at-fault parties are held liable to pay for your lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages.
  • Sex Attacks: Women, particularly, may face sexual assault when negligent security fails to account for localized criminal activities.

ADA Claims

  • Other victims, including people who use wheelchairs, are denied safe access under the Americans With Disabilities Act. (ADA). Our Los Angeles injury lawyers have a solid reputation for litigating and winning cases for victims injured by vertical lift ride incidents.

Your rights to compensation and assistance can be many. (For Example, if you are already an anxious victim, courts will instruct jurors to consider this when counting your damages amounts). We will only stop at something regarding meeting your client’s needs. But you must know your legal rights, duties, and obligations. You already know that only an attentive, caring lawyer will be poised to help you decisively win.

And that means you must immediately contact a legal expert and explore your options before your statutory time to file an elevator accident lawsuit runs out under the applicable statutes of limitations. We can ensure that your dealings with insurance companies and others are on the up and up to get you the financial compensation you deserve.

Am I Entitled To Elevator Accident Money Damages?

Yes. Victims of terrible elevator accidents or related injuries will face many future financial and personal challenges. Hobbled victims must endure long and painful physical and emotional recoveries. Victims with missing digit cases will require reparative surgery. Their medical expenses and unpaid medical bills stack up as wounded; displaced victims endure years of patient re-adaptation and outpatient medical care.

Often, personal injury lawyers must seek payments from government agencies like Social Security while the case progresses. Our job includes helping victimized clients receive total and fair compensation for job retraining and lifetime psychological care. (Read more below about Personal Injury Compensation)

How Will Ehline Law Firm Comprehensively Investigate Your Rights To Money?

Tips for riding an elevator
Elevator Bank in City Bank Building

We will start with a precise examination of your case and include all elements of a strong negligence claim.

And this will include comprehensive research of police and witness reports, gathering medical records, traveling to accident scenes, taking witness testimony, and determining how your case stacks up.

Suppose your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance does provide coverage. In that case, the responsible party causing your injury must offer you the actual cost of your pain and suffering, especially when undergoing mangling-type injury damages caused by malfunctioning elevator rides.

Do Statistics prove the dangers of working around or on elevators?

Yes. Statistics can be staggering when you look at all the missing digits cases from these events, let alone deaths.

What do the Numbers tell Us?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that elevator and escalator accidents cause around 30 deaths annually in the United States. Our US Bureau of Labor Statistics claims approximately 10,200 elevator passengers are seriously injured annually. Like an escalator injury accident, your low-hanging clothing article, dress, pant leg, shoelaces, arm, or leg can become entrapped.

But different from an escalator accident, victims often become trapped by malfunctioning sliding doors and power failures. (Click here for escalator accident help). Elevator owners are supposed to employ competent maintenance workers to obviate these problems. But sometimes, a serious injury or death is unavoidable.

  • Over nine years, at least 21 people working on or near elevators were killed yearly
  • In the construction industry, people who repair or install elevators on construction sites are rated 5th highest for suffering work-related injuries and deaths
  • A 7-year study by George Washington University showed that common elevator injuries include traumatic brain injuries, severe head injuries, cuts, and sprains
  • From 1992 to 2001, there were a shocking 207 wrongful deaths related to elevators, including 146 deaths on or near elevators.
  • During the same period, 61 persons died while riding, entering, or exiting elevators
  • Over six years, a total of 83 died while installing or repairing elevators. Of these, 27 persons died while working on elevator shafts or cars. And 36 were killed while working next to and injured in an elevator mishap
  • Other causes of chronic injuries included objects that fell from an elevator onto people.

#1 Human Error

Swing Door Elevator

Human error causes most elevator accidents, including negligent maintenance and repair, leading to mechanical defects. For Example, elevators must adequately align with the floor to mean irregular leveling. Defective wiring can cause electrocution and door defects. Failing to inspect can cause an accident to occur.

Sometimes elevator riders act carelessly or recklessly. Our team has seen many Los Angeles elevator mishaps, so we know the other side has defenses. Plus, building owner neglect causes accidents sometimes. (Ex: Wet and greasy floor results in slip and fall at or near a cruise ship or hotel lobby). The good news is our superior LA personal injury attorneys can handle all of this fact-finding work on your behalf.

  • Negligence, Negligent Hiring/Negligent Supervision: Failing to supervise building maintenance or repairs or vet workers properly or relying on outside contractors, including manufacturers, to upkeep their vertical lifts causes many calamities. Many parties may have some fault. Your injury lawyer must identify who should be held liable in maintenance records.
  • Negligent Elevator Maintenance/Repair: Every day, vertical building lifts make hundreds of trips up and down for agricultural workers, building tenants, and visitors to structures. Any machinery and equipment undergoing effective use will see mechanical parts wear down frequently. (especially elevator shafts). Accidents and bodily injuries will surely follow when responsible parties fail to maintain essential component elevator repair parts.

IMPORTANT: Old housing structures often have old lifts, and sometimes, newer buildings install used ones to save money.).

Manufacturing Defects/Failure To Warn

Negligence attributed to manufacturers includes:

  1. Not testing and inspecting for defaults before selling used equipment
  2. Severe design flaws
  3. Failure to warn of risks and hazards related to using elevator carts. (learn more about defective products here.).
  4. Misleveled Car Floor Ridges: Many of these types of injuries happen when the partitioned chamber, known as the “cage,” fails to remain flush with building floors/levels. This ridge is typically not noticeable but creates a trip, slip, and fall risk to the commuters boarding or exiting elevator cars
  5. Elevator Door Traps: We have all seen the gentleman stick his arm or leg out, using the elevator sliding door sensor to open the elevator doors for the lady or small child coming inside. But this socially-expected act can cause your loose clothing, fingers, and hair to be trapped when the emergency sensor malfunctions. Regular inspections would prevent most of these injuries. (As noted below, a suddenly accelerating elevator will override the door sensor, forcing doors closed while rising or falling) Ouch!
  6. Open Elevator Shaft Falls: If a person walks into an empty shaft and survives the fall, they will suffer severe injuries and emotional trauma. But these victims usually succumb to their injuries in falls more than 50 feet to the ground
  7. Falling Cages: A falling elevator with a broken or frayed elevator cable can be a death sentence. Mechanical errors causing sudden stops, or acceleration, coupled with rare cases of frayed or weakened elevator trolley cables snapping, including safety brake systems failure, means a free fall to the lowest floor– crushing or killing the occupants
  8. Electrocution
  9. Stuck Between Floors
  10. Sudden Stops. This malfunction causes elevators to stop between floors or collapse altogether suddenly.

Common Types Of Elevator Accident Insurance Claims We Take?

We have assisted wounded victims riding escalators, chain and bucket elevators, agricultural grain auger screw conveyors, and horizontal belt-driven transports. (Archimedes’ screw, chain, or hay elevator paddle and fork-type lifts are our specialties).

In most cases, we help victims with involving negligent maintenance, repair, or failure to replace a failed or defective: 

  • Electric motor
  • It frayed drive traction cable.

Defective counterweight systems we help with include:

  • Hoists leaking hydraulic fluid
  • Failing cylindrical jack pistons.

What Are Some Common Elevator Injuries We Help Victims Win?

You already know that trapped arms or legs, including hands caught in moving elevator doors, could cause the loss of a limb and even death. Examples of cases we take include arms stuck in elevators and limbs lacerated or amputated.

We help victims suffering terrible elevator injuries, including: 

  • Wrongful Death
  • Skull Fractures
  • Crush Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Amputation
  • Lacerations
  • Deglove.

Of particular interest, some common injuries remain associated with elevator failures, including head injuries or back injuries. Many elevator crash victims will suffer severe back pain and injuries to their legs, knees, elbows, and wrists.

What About a Wrongful Death?

Our Los Angeles elevator wrongful death attorneys have seen breadwinner fatalities leave surviving family members bearing tremendous burdens. Not only must survivors face emotional distress, but they must also bear the cash cost of burial while simultaneously suffering a loss of income and emotional stability. When severe accident victims are left faced with such a crisis, the helping hand of a legal expert remains crucial to getting your life back on track.

 Back to the Top

Who Can My Elevator Accident Attorneys Sue For Causing My Damages?

Examples of people we would sue include store owners or controllers in the South Coast Plaza or Del Amo Mall in Torrance. Other examples may include farms, warehouses with lifts, including forklift mechanical devices.

  • Under California Negligence Law, The Liable Party Failing To Keep You Safe Must Pay Your Compensation Damages

Potentially Liable Parties For Most Elevator Accident Claims

  • Elevator maintenance company repair people responsible for installing and maintaining elevators may share the blame
  • Building maintenance company department workers may share accountability
  • Government agencies, including those overseeing parks and monuments
  • Employers, including warehouses, agriculture, and farming sectors
  • Elevator and elevator parts manufacturers
  • Elevator sales companies
  • Elevator manufacturers
  • Building managers
  • Property owners
  • Building owners
  • Cruise lines
  • Landlords
  • Engineers
  • Architects.

A great lawyer will assist OSHA and other health and safety agencies, including police, in their criminal or worker’s compensation cases. We can argue res judicata or negligence per se if the DA gets a plea or criminal liability conviction. Also, we can pressure criminal defendants to pay the victim’s restitution, enforceable as contempt of court.

In the legal community, “negligence” law means we can file a lawsuit seeking reparations from anyone with a duty to keep you safe who didn’t, causing your suffering and injuries. At the top of the list of persons, we file lawsuits against the company hosting the elevator. Our top-notch elevator accident attorneys in Los Angeles have experience suing these defendants for failing to keep their elevators in proper working order.However, we may also need to hold the elevator maker or designer accountable for their role. The wounded person or the family of a loved one has the right to file a lawsuit, naming the responsible party(ies), seeking compensatory recovery for injuries, suffering, or death.

Under What California Negligence Law Theories May I Sue For My Elevator Accident?

You may have other causes of action theories besides negligent hiring or negligent supervision mentioned above. Operators and owners are considered common carriers with a heightened duty of care to passengers. Sometimes, the premises owner or operator is on notice that there is a problem.

They should have known but failed to pay attention or make reasonable inspections. Either way, the plaintiff can hold them liable under California negligence laws.

General Negligence: Most California personal injury claims will fall under negligence causes of action.

The plaintiff must prove their burden by showing: 

  1. The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care;
  2. The defendant(s) breached their duty of proper care by acting carelessly or failing to act at all; and
  3. The defendant’s negligence was a substantial cause causing the plaintiff’s injuries or death.
  4. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Getting stuck in an elevator? One of the most common problems people riding elevators face is getting stuck inside a broken-down elevator. Suppose you suffered direct negligence by suffering severe emotional distress or your perceived injury to a close loved one. In that case, you can sue the liable parties under California’s negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) laws. (See also Thing v. LaChusa.)

Negligence Premises Liability: A defendant landlord or premises owner may be held legally liable to the injury victim for negligent property use or maintenance.

Under California premises liability laws, plaintiff’s the burden includes proving:

  • The defendant had ownership, occupancy, or control over the property
  • The defendant was careless in their property’s maintenance or use
  • The plaintiff suffered tangible harm
  • The defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s damages.

Our premises liability lawyer has won cases like these and is ready to help you.

Manufacturing Negligence: Your lawyer may need to file claims against the elevator manufacturer using California’s product liability laws. Ehline Law Firm will typically sue a negligent product designer, manufacturer, or seller under strict liability products for failing to warn of product dangers causing someone’s injury or death.

False Imprisonment: In egregious or reckless elevator claims, you may be able to sue defendants for trapping you, allowing you no reasonable means of escape.

Who Has A Duty To Keep You Safe From Lift Machine Injuries?

  • A Civil Defendant’s Duties Will Vary Based On Duties Owed

Although the prosecutor may hold some parties criminally liable, our job as civil negligence law attorneys means seeking money. Everyone involved in keeping the failed elevator safe for everyday use may bear financial liability. The party responsible for overseeing the operation typically has the most legal liability.

In some cases, the building owner or maintenance employee caused the mishap. But low-level employees will need more assets to cover accident claims. Your elevator accident attorneys must sue using “Respondeat Superior” laws, holding their employer vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence.

What Are Some Duties Owed By Certain Parties?

A building owner or manager must: 

  • Maintain elevators to local, state, and federal safety code standards, including posting proof of proper maintenance and inspections for elevator riders. People get hurt when a mechanic or person in charge fails to follow protocols.
  • Follow and implement emergency or elevator rescue plans during emergencies.
  • Train employees in all required and necessary injury prevention methods.

Elevator service companies will be liable when they:

  • Start repairs without completing their job,
  • Perform poor repairs.

Who Is Liable For “Common Areas” And Elevators

In common areas, lifts are installed in office buildings, shopping malls, government buildings, hotels, schools, factories, worksites, and private residences. The landlord is liable for negligence in common areas they own or control.

  • What About Employees Who Get Hurt Riding Elevators? Who Pays?

These machines can hurt employees, such as waiters and janitors. The statistics show that many of these severe harm types can be fatal, including in California.

Plaintiffs such as this are left pursuing work comp insurance but may need to hire Ehline Law Firm for any third-party liability. Facing down a severe injury court case alone is nearly impossible. Having a skilled advocate is vital for receiving your deserved settlement, especially when dealing with multiple negligent parties.

Compensatory Damages Elevator Accident Attorneys Collect From At-Fault-Defendants?

To achieve your goal of receiving maximum compensation, your lawyer must hire damages calculation experts and conduct intense evidence discovery during pre and post-litigation case proceedings. The settlement may account for the financial losses suffered by the victim and compensation for non-economic harm.

These compensatory damages may include the following:

Your lawyer will file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit seeking accident-related money damages compensation. Compensation “damages” payments are how lawyers resolve civil negligence cases. After jurors consider the victim’s role in causing their injuries, the jury will award that party their reasonable money damages, less their portion of shared contributory negligence.

If the other parties are 100% liable, they must all play their total apportioned share. Calculating your damages largely depends on work your lawyer did up front, evidence gathering.

Elevator accident victims are entitled to receive three types of damages:

  • Special Economic Damages
  • General Pain and Suffering Damages
  • Punitive Damages (rarely)
  • Injunctive relief (rarely) (to make defendants do or not do something regarding their elevators.)

Special Economic Damages Compensation

The mounting medical treatment bills and related expenses remain a small part of the long personal injury damages recovery process after an elevator accident. Your bills will quickly rise when you are dealing with lost income or increased living costs.

Plaintiffs can seek money for:

  • Repayment for past and present medical charges, including medication and medical supplies
  • Compensation for pain management and long-term therapy care treatments
  • Payment for past, present, and future lost earnings/wages and lost the ability to continue earning.

The serious accident victim’s expenses can spiral out of control, becoming unsustainable, emptying their pocketbook, and further harming their physical and mental health. Last, once you are broke, you may seek bankruptcy protection. A top-notch personal injury lawyer can guide you during this crucial recovery period, protecting your valuable credit score.

General Pain, And Trauma Damages Compensation

When an elevator incident occurs, the injured person suffers pain and psychological problems, and expenses can intensify their suffering. An individual trapped in an elevator stuck between floors remains in a terrifying spot. This case may result in permanent, severe emotional shock or suffocation.

  • Payments for past, present, and future pain and suffering
  • Remuneration for extreme psychological and mental harm.

What About Wrongful Death Damages In A California Elevator Accident?

The same parties responsible for an elevator injury may also be liable for a fatal elevator accident. When someone dies in an elevator, their eligible surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death lawsuit allows certain family members to seek compensation when a loved one is killed in an accident. Whoever was responsible for causing the fatal accident, including the manufacturer, property owner, or elevator service company, is liable for damages.

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are different from those available in a personal injury lawsuit and can include:

Wrongful Death Special Damages:

  • Repayment for last rites and funeral ceremonies
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of service.

Wrongful Death General Damages:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of support
  • Loss of affection.

Only some of the decedent’s survivors maintain wrongful death lawsuit rights.

Generally, family members entitled to file a California wrongful death will include decedents:

  • Surviving spouse, civil or domestic partner
  • Surviving children or adopted children
  • Surviving grandchildren (Assuming no surviving children exist.)
  • Any other person granted California intestate succession rights under our laws.

Elevator Accident Attorney Safety And Survival Tips

  • TIP: Staying Calm Saves Lives

Elevator Mishaps Are Arbitrary, so stay calm. By not panicking, it can help to reduce or even prevent injuries or paralysis in many cases.

  • TIP: Passengers Stuck Between Floors

Only attempt to spread the sliding doors and leave the elevator if they will not close before leaving. Call us today and seek immediate legal assistance by dialing our phone number at (213) 596-9642. We are ready to file your Los Angeles elevator accident lawsuit today.

Receive Your Free Consultation With An Elevator Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles Today

You may be entitled to compensation if you were injured in an elevator in Los Angeles. All you need to do is pick up your phone. Our reputation speaks for itself–winning hundreds of cases worth millions in settlements. The severe injury attorneys at Ehline Law Firm stand ready to work with accident victims and families 24/7, helping them endure this difficult time.

To receive your free consultation explaining your legal rights, call us anytime at (213) 596-9642. If you seek faster service from an attentive, listening Los Angeles elevator accident attorney, use our online website contact form.

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.
Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Top Injury lawyer, Michael Ehline, Esq.
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.