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Elevator Accidents

Elevator rides are often part of an office workers daily routine. When people get in an elevator they may think about how slow the car is, how cramped it may be, avoiding eye contact with strangers, or at worst the claustrophobic feeling of being in cramped quarters with strangers. Seldom do people think about the dangers of elevators.

While people often stress about getting on a commercial airplane, the truth is flying is relatively safe. In fact in 2017, there were no reported deaths for commercial airlines around the entire world. In 2016 there were no reported deaths for commercial airlines for the United States. In contrast, there are thousands upon thousands of elevator related accidents every year, many of which prove to be fatal. In fact, a study by The Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR), showed that Florida had the second highest number of fatal elevator accidents between 1997 and 2010, behind only New York.

Did you know that the average elevator life span is approximately thirty years? Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands of elevators in operation in Miami-Dade County that are well past their thirty-year life span. This means that every day hundreds of unsuspecting Miami residents are in danger of being involved in an elevator malfunction that could cause serious and permanent injuries that should have been avoided. This is unacceptable.

Hotels, office buildings, and condominium complexes have every right to try and increase their profits, but not at the expense of elevator customer safety. Elevators should be properly maintained on a consistent basis and replaced when necessary with no short cuts when it comes to costs.

Lawyer for Elevator Accidents

Unlike a car accident where often times your own insurance will cover some of the damages, in an elevator accident, usually the only insurance company involved is the insurance for the building who will be incentivized to fight against you to save money.

Litigating a case for an elevator accident can become very complex, often involving the building management, their liability insurance, the elevator manufacturer, the elevator installer, the elevator servicer, and potentially a countless number of parties that want to avoid being held accountable for your injuries or worse the death of a loved one.

It is crucial that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate complex elevator accident cases. Abrams Justice has a deep understanding of how elevators work and the different causes of an elevator malfunction. From review of maintenance logs, elevator service contracts, work request sheets, and witness interviews, Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys leaves no stone unturned and will fight on your behalf to expose the truth.

We proudly serve clients in the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables and Cutler Bay. Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys is a family firm that cares deeply about its clients and will aggressively battle to make sure that care translates into justice for those wrongfully injured. Call us today at (305) 709-0880 and make an appointment to meet with our team.

Miami-Dade County Elevator Accident Information Center

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Common Types of Elevator Accidents

According to the CPWR one of the most common types of elevator related injuries is from elevators causing slips, trips, or falls. These types of accidents can be caused by elevators that:

  • Make sudden stops
  • Are mis-leveled by the elevator car not stopping level with the hallway
  • Free fall

The CPWR upon examining tens of thousands of injuries among children between 1990 and 2004, reported that the most frequent elevator injury to children was from elevator doors closing on a body part. Not only is being stuck in an elevator door an injury risk to children it is also the second leading cause of elevator related deaths for all age groups according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Falls were the most frequent cause of death in elevator accidents. The majority of falls involved passengers falling down an elevator shaft when the doors opened and the elevator car left the floor.
  • “Caught in between”/”Struck by” deaths were the second most common type of elevator related fatality. These incidents usually involved passengers being stuck between elevator doors or being stuck between the elevator doors and the elevator shaft. These types of accidents can be particularly horrific.
  • Elevator collapses were the third most common cause of fatalities.

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Causes of Elevator Accidents

The CPWR’s study not only tabulated the number of accidents and deaths from elevators but also offered safety recommendations based on data showing common reasons for elevator failures. Inadequate maintenance and inspections were cited in the CPWR study as the leading causes of elevator fatalities.

In particular, the CPWR pointed to improper elevator controller wiring as a reason why elevator cars can move unexpectedly leading to people being caught in between elevator doors and killing them, as was the case for a Houston doctor that was decapitated by an elevator with faulty wires. The CPWR also pointed to faulty interlock systems. Elevator interlocks prevent elevator doors from opening unless an elevator is actually present. Failure of interlock systems can cause elevator doors to open into an empty shaft and many people die falling down these elevator shafts.

Not only could accidents be prevented with proper inspection and maintenance but accidents can be prevented by having qualified personnel inspecting and maintaining elevators. Florida is one of the few states that requires that elevator mechanics, inspectors, and contractors be licensed.

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Florida Elevator Accident Resources

The Florida Elevator Safety Act – This link will take you to chapter 399 of the Florida Statutes. This chapter delineates all the laws relevant for elevator safety. This includes general regulations as well as how often elevator inspections must be performed (ever year), how often certified elevator inspectors must re-register (every year), and what is required of elevator inspectors to re-register (8 hours of continuing education, proof of good standing, and proof of general liability insurance coverage in the minimum amounts established by the division).

Florida Elevator Safety Code – While the above will take you to the relevant elevator laws, this link has the elevator safety standards for the state. This includes the standards for escalators as well as elevators. The safety code also provides the standards for fees, permits, various certifications, maintenance control programs and continuing education requirements for people that service elevators.

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Elevator Accident Attorney in Florida

Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys is committed to ensuring that its clients receive the compensation they deserve so they can get back to living their lives. It is not fair when the negligence or gross negligence of others causes innocent people to be hurt or killed and Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys will always fight to get justice for victims. Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys serves the greater Miami-Dade area including North Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Doral, Homestead, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Coral Gables and Pinecrest and is available for consultation and evaluation of your case by calling (305) 709-0880.

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