How is Elevator Liability Defined?

How is Your Premise Liability Law IQ?

One of a building owner’s worst nightmares: a passenger gets into an elevator in perfect health but ends the ride with a serious physical or psychological injury. Thankfully, this is an extremely rare scenario, but all those involved in building management should know exactly how to define elevator liability and take action if an incident occurs.

Find out how to improve safety and reduce costs at your property

Our best-in-class emergency phone + monitoring solutions provide peace of mind and are backed by decades of expertise

Learn More

Best Supplier -
Communication System

Elevator accident types

First, let’s define the types of elevator accidents. The Grant Law Office lists the following incidents that may lead to serious injury or death:

  • Elevator shaft falls
  • Caught between floors
  • Struck by elevator
  • Elevator platform collapses
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Faulty wiring
  • Power failures
  • Defective elevator doors
  • Free falls
  • Unbalanced leveling
  • Electrocutions

Common elevator injuries

Typical elevator accident injuries, according to the law firm of Galfand Berger:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Ligament and soft tissue damage
  • Concussion and head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputation
  • Death

An elevator accident can also affect a passenger’s mental health, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, guilt and depression. According to law firm PBBDS, injuries can have severe impacts on quality of life, from work to recreation. Compensation could include treatment for mental suffering and emotional therapy.

Note: In addition to manual and automatic elevators, escalators may also qualify as elevators. According to LegalMatch, while not technically elevators, these electronically powered staircases are similar to elevators and fall in the same genre as elevators when concerning elevator liability. Although escalators are slow, personal garments can be caught in them, potentially causing injury.

Who is liable in an elevator accident?

It always depends on the facts of the case, according to the Dominguez Firm. In general, though, a negligence case can be made in one or more of three basic categories:

  • The building owner of lessee. Premises liability means that a building owner or lessee is responsible for maintaining a safe and hazard-free environment on their property. In the case of elevators, this includes regular maintenance and safety checks by qualified professionals. Failure to properly maintain elevators may make the building owner or lessee legally liable for injuries in an elevator accident on the property.
  • Maintenance and repair companies. If the building owner or lessee contracts the elevator’s maintenance to an outside company, that company may be responsible for elevator accidents. This could include failure to service the elevator based on a recommended service schedule, or faulty repairs.
  • The elevator’s manufacturer or seller. Product manufacturers are legally responsible for the safety of their products. This is true even if the product is sold outside of its warranty. The case against the manufacturer could be made due to a design or manufacturing defect, or even a marketing defect (example: failing to communicate hidden dangers to the purchaser).

How elevator accident claims are made

Anyone injured in an elevator accident can file a lawsuit against those responsible for causing the accident, according to the Shouse Injury Law Group. See your state’s personal injury laws. Settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. This depends on the extent of injuries and the degree of negligence that led to the accident.

What to do after an elevator accident

According to the Heidari Law Group, the most important thing to do is to document evidence. Without this type of documentation, you may have a difficult time in court. Collect the names and phone numbers/contact information of any witnesses, and take photos of the elevator accident.

Attorneys would most likely pursue a products liability case or negligence case, depending on who is at fault.

As building management, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you are at fault. However, the more documentation you have, the stronger your case may be.

Be sure to equip your elevators with a first-rate emergency communications system

The most proactive move you can make to protect your passengers in the event of an elevator accident is to install an easy-to-use emergency communications system.

Kings III, for instance, installs and maintains emergency phone solutions that give full access to a trained staff who stay on the phone with your passengers until help arrives, if requested. In addition, all Kings III operators are AEMD-certified (Advanced Emergency Medical Dispatch). What this means for your passengers: pre-medical instructions are provided until help arrives. This brings tremendous peace of mind, as well as documentation that you are doing everything you can to help any passengers who may be in trouble. Note that Kings III offers emergency response in over 175 different languages, which eliminates any barriers to help or vital instructions.

Also extremely important when it comes risk and liability mitigation: Every phone call is digitally recorded, date/time stamped, and permanently stored automatically. We make this available upon request, invaluable in the aforementioned situations within this blog post.

Find out more about how Kings III Emergency Communications can help your elevator passengers in the event of an accident here.


What an Emergency Dispatcher will Most Likely Ask You

When suddenly faced with an emergency, you may immediately feel frightened and helpless. An emergency communications system can help reduce or eliminate those reactions by providing immediate assistance. Here's what you can expect on the other side of a call you place from an emergency phone.

Kings III Makes The Dallas Morning News Top 100 Places to Work List Becoming a 4x Winner

We're honored to be recognized by our employees and The Dallas Morning News by making the daily newspaper’s Top 100 Places to Work list for the 4th year in a row, falling in at 26th in the midsize companies category.

January 2024 Elevator Code Updates in Florida

Florida property managers have finally completed DLM requirements in their elevators (hopefully). But wait, there's more! Florida will adopt ASME 2019 starting January 1, 2024. Learn what this means, how you can comply, and get guidance from our code experts.

Survey Reveals Gaps in Building Emergency Communications Plans

A recent survey of property management professionals revealed that while more than 60 percent of respondents were aware that telecom companies are phasing out POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service, also known as analog copper land lines), nearly half reported their elevator emergency communication systems are still based on this endangered technology.

Successful Hotel CO Inspections

A CO is a vital requirement before opening your new-build/renovated hotel. One area we often see overlooked within the process is telecommunications. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a checklist of key telecom-specific items to consider that may be subject to inspection.

How is Your Premise Liability Law IQ?

A premises liability lawsuit holds a property owner responsible for any damages arising out of an injury on that person or entity's property. Keeping your property safe is, therefore, your number-one priority. Here's exactly what you need to know.

Kings III of America Announces CEO Transition

Kings III today announced that as part of a thoughtful succession process, Dennis Mason will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and transitioning to Senior Advisor. Norm Nelson, who has served as Chief Operating Officer since 2018, will succeed Mr. Mason as CEO.

Apple iPhone Setting Ties Up 911 Call Centers

A recent news story highlights how an iPhone safety feature may be adversely affecting 911 call centers. Here's what property managers should be thinking about when it comes to their own onsite emergencies.

Types of Emergency Phones: Glossary and Resources

If you are looking into information on emergency phones, it’s worth getting some context on all emergency response options at a high level. Here, we’ll attempt to do just that with a ‘types of emergency phones’ glossary where we’ll provide important facts and links to outside resources for ALL types of emergency phones, along with special considerations.

Kings III makes it easy as a single point-of-contact for all your emergency response needs. With expertise in line connectivity, compliance codes, equipment maintenance, and safety protocol, we offer the total package.