Accidents involving elevators and escalators are entirely preventable. These types of events often happen due to the careless or negligent actions of a property owner, but the question of who is at fault in such accidents is often complex and requires a thorough understanding of the law. Here, we want to review the duty of care owed by property owners in these situations as well as some of the main causes of elevator and escalator accidents.
Duty of Care Owed to Patrons by Property Owners
Property owners have a duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe for their patrons. This includes maintaining elevators and escalators in good working condition, providing adequate warning signs for any hazards, and regularly inspecting the equipment to identify any potential issues. Failure to meet this duty of care can lead to accidents, and the property owner can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Common Causes of Elevator and Escalator Accidents in Pennsylvania
When an elevator or escalator accident occurs, it’s important to determine who is at fault. Some common causes of such accidents include:
- Equipment Malfunction: Equipment malfunction can be caused by improper installation, poor maintenance, or faulty parts. In such cases, the manufacturer or installer of the equipment may be held liable.
- Negligent Maintenance: If the property owner fails to maintain the equipment or neglects to address any issues promptly, they may be held liable for any resulting accidents.
- Improper Use: Sometimes, accidents occur due to the improper use of the equipment. In such cases, the person using the equipment may be at fault.
- Lack of Adequate Warning Signs: If the property owner fails to provide adequate warning signs for any hazards, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
Proving Fault in an Elevator or Escalator Accident
Actually determining fault after an accident involving an elevator or escalator cannot be challenging. Initially, it may be tempting to look squarely at the property owners to assign blame. It could very well be the case that the property owners failed their duty of care owed to the injury victim. However, there are also other parties that could be at fault, including any third-party maintenance crew responsible for the elevator or escalator, as well as government entities.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is responsible for regularly inspecting and providing feedback related to every elevator and escalator in use throughout the state. The Commonwealth does use certified third-party agencies to inspect elevators, but these third parties must be certified by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
There will need to be an extensive investigation into the incident in order to determine which party or multiple parties could be held responsible through a civil personal injury lawsuit. This investigation will include gathering evidence from the scene of the incident, such as video surveillance, photographs, and eyewitness statements. Additionally, an investigation will include obtaining safety and inspection records related to the specific elevator or escalator in question.
A skilled Philadelphia personal injury attorney will examine every aspect of the case and work to recover the compensation their client deserves. This includes coverage of medical bills, lost wages, and various types of physical and emotional pain and suffering damages. We encourage any person harmed in an elevator or escalator accident to contact a member of our team for assistance as soon as possible.