Elevator Failure – Who’s Responsible?

Posted In

Premises Laws

It’s the nightmare scenario – passengers are traveling from floor to floor in a multi-storey building when the elevator shudders and comes to a sudden halt. Concern can turn to panic as minutes can seem like hours while the passengers wait for help, while worrying about whether at any moment the elevator could fail, plunging to the bottom floor.

Unfortunately, elevator accidents are more common than you might think. In 2015, emergency workers responded to over 4,400 calls to rescue people trapped in disabled elevators, a number that has more than doubled since 2001.

Elevator Malfunctions

There are over 50,000 elevators in Ontario, and over half of residential elevators are 25 years old, or older. Recognizing the risks of aging equipment, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has changed from requiring monthly inspection of elevators to a standard that varies, depending upon each elevator’s needs. Despite these modern regulatory changes, elevators are still failing more frequently than ever before, perhaps because of:

  • more elevators being installed every day;
  • less frequent inspections, particularly for older elevators;
  • fewer elevator repair technicians, particularly those who are skilled to repair older elevator technology;
  • older equipment requiring more frequent maintenance;
  • hard-to-obtain parts for older, obsolete elevators;
  • increasingly frequent use of elevators;
  • expense, which may lead building owners to allow routine maintenance to be deferred.

As our buildings continue to age, and more people are moving into high-rise condominiums and other tall buildings, the elevator failure problem will likely continue to increase. Our aging population will also need to make increasing use of elevators, so it is very important that elevator equipment be safe for all.

Trapped Elevator Passengers Incur Damages

Most passengers who experience elevator failure leave the lift unharmed. However, minor to fatal injuries can and do occur due to elevator accidents. Some of the injuries and damage that can be suffered by passengers and those who rely upon elevators when they fail may include:

  • Severe or fatal injury, including burns from electrical malfunction, or in rare cases, death from mechanical failures of critical elevator systems;
  • Anxiety – passengers who have been trapped in failed elevators may feel anxious about enclosed spaces or riding elevators in the future;
  • Inconvenience and other hardship due to elevators being disabled, perhaps trapping elderly or disabled people on upper floors.

In the event of an elevator failure, one or more of the following people may be at fault:

  • Building Owner
  • Elevator Maintenance Company/Technician
  • Elevator Manufacturer

It is important that you seek legal advice if you believe you have a claim arising from an elevator failure, both to help ensure that the problem is remedied to prevent others from having the same hardship, and to seek compensation for your injuries or other losses that you may have suffered as a result of the elevator failure.

Building owners are responsible for ensuring that the elevators in their buildings are safe, properly maintained and in good working order. Elevator manufacturer must ensure that their products are safe for the public to use and elevator maintenance and repair companies must take care that lifts are maintained to appropriate standards, and that repairs are carried out in a proper and safe manner.

If you’ve suffered pain, anxiety, hardship or injury as a result of an elevator failure, call an expert on premises law. The lawyers at Mackesy Smye have the experience and knowledge to guide and advise you of your legal options.

Complete our secure contact form to arrange your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our premises law lawyers, or give us a call at 905-525-2341.

Get started today with a free consultation

Contact us for a complimentary, confidential consultation. You may fill in this secure online contact form or simply call us at 1-905-525-2341 today.

Related Articles

personal injuries in public spaces in toronto or hamilton ontario

Accidents in Public Spaces: Who is Liable?

Injuries can happen anywhere and just because you bought a ticket or registered for an event, doesn’t mean you waived all legal right to a reasonable standard of care. Read this post to learn more about public space accidents and how to proceed with filing a personal injury claim.

Read Article
Premises Liability. Premises Law, Personal Injuries

Premises Law: Understanding Premises Injuries

Owners and landlords need to maintain premises so as a visitor or a guest, you're safeguarded from danger and aren't put at risk due to negligence. This article offers insights to help you understand premises injuries and determine if you have a case - click to read more.

Read Article
personal injury law - property liability

When Can a Property Be Considered Dangerous?

It is important to know that both property occupiers and owners have a legal responsibility to avoid exposing lawful visitors to any risks on the property. It is important to keep the property safe. What constitutes a dangerous property? Read this post to learn more.

Read Article

Duty of Care in Drunk Driving Accidents

In alcohol-related accidents, the drunk driver is at fault, but he’s not alone. The list of culpable parties extends beyond the drinker, though to those who served the drunk driver. Is it possible to hold everyone involved responsible? Read this article to learn how to hold others accountable.

Read Article
personal injury accidents at school

School Premises Accidents: Things Parents Need to Consider

If your child is like one in five Canadian children, he or she’s visited the doctor for x-rays and left the clinic with a bright pink or fluorescent green cast on their arm.

Read Article
Caution sign in mall - shopping mall accidents

Shopping Mall Accidents

In shopping malls, there are a host of hazards that can be found in food courts, individual retailers, aisle kiosks, and concourses that may cause slips, trips, and falls. In such cases, it may be confusing as to who can be held liable.

Read Article
Templates Library
Loading, Please wait...
The Library cannot be open, please try it again later.
This field is required.
Invalid email format.
Some of the fields are not filled or invalid.
Form Template
Select a Form Template
Available fields in the selected template: