People in most parts of the world have ridden an elevator at least once, and most city folks routinely ride them several times a day. Few seem to realize that it is a metal box suspended by cables run by a series of gears and pulleys and driven by electricity, regularly bearing loads of 100 to 1,000 kilograms. An elevator failure can happen at any time, and it is really amazing that only one in 12 million elevator rides will result in a mechanical breakdown.
The elevator is a complex arrangement of moving parts that need regular assessment, maintenance and replacement. There are strict rules and regulations in force in most states which make elevators extremely safe. When an elevator failure happens which results in injury or death, though, the property owner or manager is not automatically liable.
If the elevator failure is due to the failure of the property owner to have the elevator maintained regularly, or to repair a malfunctioning unit, then premises liability will come into play. The property owner has a duty to ensure the safety of the people who use the facilities, and that includes elevators.
However, if the elevator failure happened because of technician error or incompetence, then liability becomes a little bit more complicated. The property owner could be sued for failing to engage reliable service providers, and the technician and maintenance company could be sued as well for failing to do the job properly. If on the other hand a replacement part malfunctioned despite being properly installed, the manufacturer could be liable.
To determine who is liable for personal injury or wrongful death in an elevator failure, have a lawyer assess the case as it stands. An experienced litigator will be able to gather evidence and facts that will pinpoint the person or entity liable for the elevator failure, which is the first step in getting compensation.