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Elevators aren't even a luxury anymore -- they're a necessity. From ferrying office folk to the top of skyscrapers to making the morning commute possible for people who use wheelchairs, some of us don't go a day without using an elevator.
And anything used with that much frequency is bound to see its share of accidents. So when can you sue if you're injured in an elevator? Here's what you need to know:
Even if you haven't suffered a physical injury from a malfunctioning elevator, emotional injuries may be enough. People have sued for being stuck in an elevator, although it may be difficult to prove negligent infliction of emotional distress. Some courts require the emotional distress to be connected to or manifested as some kind of physical injury, but others could find the length or conditions of the elevator entrapment enough to require compensation.
If the elevator malfunctions and causes a physical injury, you can sue. Especially if the elevator goes into a freefall for several stories, jerks to stop, and leaves you crippled for life. You may have a legal claim against the building itself for lack of maintenance on the elevator, or the maintenance company for failing to detect or fix a problem.
In some extreme cases, even witnessing an extreme elevator injury can be cause for a lawsuit. One New York resident was in an elevator when it unexpectedly shot up, crushing and killing a woman as she was still walking through the doorway. The witness sued the repair company, who incidentally had been working on the same elevator that morning, and claimed that being trapped inside the elevator with the victim's body parts "for an extended period of time" left her traumatized and unable to ride or go near elevators ever again.
Every now and then, the folks that work on elevators are injured by them. And they can also sue, sometimes for millions of dollars.
Whether you have a valid legal claim for an elevator injury is best left to the experts. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you about your case.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.