Millions of people board elevators at work, in stores or in residential buildings each day without incident, so it may not seem like an elevator could present a serious danger of personal injury. However, due to negligence on the part of some property owners or manufacturers, some people have suffered injuries or died in various elevator accidents.
As someone who uses an elevator, perhaps even on a frequent basis, you should have an idea of why an elevator may malfunction and present a danger to anyone in the elevator car or near the elevator shaft. Consumer Watch describes some reasons for elevator accidents to occur.
Various causes of elevator accidents
Like any machine, an elevator may present dangers from malfunctioning, such as from a defect or breakdown that causes the elevator to plummet down the shaft. Sometimes an elevator does not line up with the floor when it stops, resulting in passengers tripping and falling. Some elevator doors malfunction by opening up a shaft with no car, which may cause someone to fall down into the shaft.
Even if the building owner catches an elevator malfunction before it hurts or kills anyone, it is no guarantee that the elevator will not cause a serious injury. If unqualified workers try to repair the elevator, they could suffer electrocution or injury from faulty wiring. Their repair job might turn out to be inadequate and unable to stop the elevator from hurting someone in the future.
Defective parts may cause accidents
Sometimes a manufacturer creates elevator parts that are defective. Should a manufacturer discover they have made a defective part, the manufacturer must notify the elevator owners through certified mail. Unfortunately, since elevator recalls do not fall under CPSC regulation concerning public recalls, the public generally will not learn about defective elevator parts until an accident occurs.
Deaths and injury statistics from elevator accidents
The CPSC reports that each year, about 27 people die in elevator accidents and 10,200 people suffer from elevator injuries, meaning your chances of actually dying in an elevator accident are small. Still, an elevator accident may inflict a serious injury that could impact your life for years to come. As with other accidents that happen on a property, a property owner bears responsibility for an elevator accident if the owner was negligent.