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Premises liability incidents with elevators are on the way up

The world of urban workers and dwellers is a vertical one. Condos and apartment towers reach for the clouds, many downtown offices are found in skyscrapers, or smaller multi-level buildings, and even shopping centres and parking garages are growing in height. The common threads between all these structures are elevators. Many people ride elevators daily, and most people rarely stop to think about how complex they really are. Newly revealed statistics show that elevator-related injuries in Ontario are more common than most people might think, and many of these accidents may fall into the category of premises liability cases.

Data from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, the regulating body for elevator operation in Ontario, shows the rate of increase for elevator “incidents” rose by an average of 14 percent per year between 2011 and 2016. The total number of incidents doubled during that timeframe. Serious injuries increased by 8 percent annually during the same period.

During the six years reported on, 1,225 people were injured by elevators in Ontario, 69 of them suffering permanent damage. An additional six people lost their lives in elevator-related mishaps, including one elderly man who lost both of his legs when a malfunctioning elevator crushed them; he died shortly afterwards. Reported injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to broken bones. Other causes ranged from loose panels to electrical fires. Misalignment with the floor was a common cause of trips and falls.

Determining who is to blame for an elevator accident is not always easy. It could be the manufacturer, the installer, the building owner, or a combination thereof. An experienced lawyer can help a victim of an elevator accident, or any premises liability incident, understand his or her rights, and pursue legal action when it’s applicable.

Source: Vancouver Sun, “Elevator incident reports reveal litany of misery; mishaps on the rise“, Colin Perkel, May 14, 2017

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