As residents of a city full of multi-story buildings and high rises, many people in Houston use elevators frequently. Although the city could not function without them, elevators also pose significant risks.
If you suffered an injury while riding, entering, or exiting an elevator, you could work with our seasoned premises liability attorneys to seek monetary damages from the negligent parties responsible for the accident. An accomplished Houston elevator accident lawyer at Kirk Law Firm, PLLC could help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Ways That Elevators Could Cause Injury
Elevators are complex machines and there are various ways they could malfunction. The nightmare scenario is an elevator detaching and crashing into the bottom of the shaft. Although this could happen, elevator accidents are usually less dramatic, but still capable of causing significant injury.
Some common elevator malfunctions that might cause an injury include:
- Doors closing on a person or a body part
- Elevator stopping and starting suddenly
- Elevator crashing into the top of the shaft
- Doors opening above or below floor level
- Elevator trapping passengers between floors
- Doors remaining closed with passengers inside
Depending on the circumstances, elevator injuries could be severe. Passengers caught in elevator doors could suffer crushed limbs or amputations. Passengers in elevators that move erratically or crash into the top or bottom of the shaft might experience fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, or death. When an elevator is stuck between floors, passengers might have to climb out into the shaft to escape, where they could get hurt. Any elevator accident might affect a passenger’s mental health, resulting in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another debilitating condition.
One of our compassionate lawyers in Houston understands the trauma associated with an elevator accident and could work to communicate the full extent of a plaintiff’s injuries in a claim.
Potentially Responsible Parties in Elevator Accident Cases
When building owners install elevators to move residents, tenants, guests, and workers between floors, they assume the risk of maintaining the elevators in a safe condition. Commercial property owners have an obligation to use a high degree of care to protect people who enter their premises.
The building owners must regularly inspect the elevator to ensure it is operating correctly and they must make prompt repairs if it shows indications of malfunctioning. Until repairs are complete, they must take the unit out of service. Omitting any of these steps could be evidence of negligence.
Other parties besides the building owner could be liable to an individual who suffered injuries in an elevator accident. Potentially responsible parties could include the elevator manufacturer, the service company, the elevator inspector, and the property management company. An experienced accident attorney in Houston could review a building’s elevator maintenance records and file claims against all parties whose carelessness might have contributed to the incident.
Injured Elevator Riders Have Limited Time to Sue
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 allows individuals two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit seeking damages. Although there are some exceptions, in general, missing this deadline deprives an injured person of the right to pursue damages through the courts.
If the elevator accident happened in a building owned by the state or local government, much tighter time limits apply. If the state or Harris County owns or operates the building, an injured person must send a notice describing their claim to the appropriate agency within six months of their injury to preserve the right to sue. If the City of Houston owns or operates the building, a claimant must notify the city within 90 days of the injury. Working with a knowledgeable Houston attorney could help ensure that tardy filing does not deprive a claimant of their right to file an elevator accident lawsuit.
Trust Your Elevator Accident Claim to a Houston Attorney
Proving negligence in an elevator accident case requires the services of an experienced legal professional. Our attorneys at Kirk Law Firm, PLLC have the industry knowledge and contacts to know where to find engineers and other experts, which records to subpoena, and how to hold powerful commercial property owners accountable.
If you suffered injuries in an elevator accident, you may need a committed advocate working for you. Schedule a consultation with a Houston elevator accident lawyer at Kirk Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible.