People rely on elevators every day. With approximately 900,000 elevators in operation in the United States, it can be easy to take their safety for granted. An estimated 18 billion elevator trips are made per year in the U.S., averaging about 5 people per trip. While the vast majority of those trips are safe, injuries and deaths continue to occur due to elevator falls, errant door functions, and misalignment with floors.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an elevator injury, contact the Houston personal injury lawyers with The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500 today to find out if your injuries can be compensated.
You may be able to recover for the following past and future losses:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical limitations
Risk of Elevator Injury and Death
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, accidents involving elevators and escalators injure around 17,000 people per year and kill about 31 people annually. Elevators alone are responsible for 90 percent of those deaths and 60 percent of injuries. Half of those killed by elevators each year are individuals installing, repairing, maintaining, and working in or near elevator shafts.
Deaths and injuries involving elevator passengers can occur when riders are caught between or struck by elevators doors, fall into an elevator shaft or to a lower level, collide with one another during sudden movement, or trip and fall when an elevator fails to stop level with the floor.
Proper Elevator Maintenance is Key to Preventing Accidents
Over time, elevators are susceptible to malfunction due to normal wear and tear. To prevent accidents and ensure safe operation, elevators must be properly inspected and maintained. Some of the common causes of elevator equipment failures are:
- Power failures
- Pulley system malfunction
- Faulty wiring
- Mechanical breakdown or defect
- Elevator control malfunction
Safety Standards for Elevators
Safety codes and standards for elevators are set by state and local municipal codes. Very often, state and municipal codes follow the guidelines set by ASME, which is a not-for-profit membership organization that develops safety standards for the design, installation, operation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of elevators.
A deadly elevator accident at a San Antonio Hotel in 2012, prompted the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to reevaluate existing regulations. Gloria Rodriguez was killed when she fell down an elevator shaft, which malfunctioned because of an improperly installed and maintained drive machine brake. TDLR, which was the agency responsible for investigating the incident, concluded that the accident was preventable and was the result of a failure to inspect and adequately maintain the elevator.
After ASME decided to discontinue its accreditation process for Qualified Elevator Inspectors, and in light of the San Antonio incident, the state legislature passed Senate Bills 540 and 673 to improve safety standards for elevator and escalator equipment. The new laws strengthen TDLR’s authority to manage the regulation of such equipment and their ability to prevent further accidents. The rules went into effect November 15, 2013.
Contact An Experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have experienced an elevator injury due to the improper maintenance, contact the experienced Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about your legal rights. Our skilled team of personal injury lawyers has four decades of experience handling a broad range of cases involving catastrophic injuries. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries so that you can rebuild your life. We have achieved some of the largest personal injury recoveries in Texas and we pride ourselves on providing sophisticated legal representation.
Call us for a free consultation today at (281) 283-8500 to see how we can put our significant experience to work for you.