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Elevators: Box of Inherent Dangers

Photo of Brant Stogner

With elevators, we often take them for granted. You might consider the danger of the door closing too soon. You might stick your hand out to hold it open, or just stand back and wait for the next one. Yet once you are inside the elevator box, most of us forget about the other dangers. We forget that it could get stuck, or worse, that it could plummet to the bottom floor. There are about 325 million elevator rides every day, with each elevator carrying about 20,000 people per year. Most of those rides end safely. But for some unfortunate passengers, poor elevator maintenance or defective elevator design can cause catastrophic injuries by riding the wrong elevator at the wrong time. Worse still, the general public is rarely aware of elevator problems until after serious injuries occur.

For example, take the elevators at John Peter Smith (JPS) Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Those elevators were manufactured by Thyssenkrupp Elevators. In 2017, one woman from Arlington was seriously injured at JPS Hospital by the Thyssenkrupp elevator when she was "violently jolted by the abrupt falling then stopping of the elevator." She was immediately taken to JPS' emergency room where she was treated for permanent back and neck injuries.

In 2016, a gentlemen was injured by a JPS/Thyssenkrupp elevator when the doors slammed shut on him as he tried to step off. In 2018, an elderly person suffered a significant head injury because the elevator did not stop level with the ground, resulting in a catastrophic fall.

As recently as January 20, 2019, a nurse at JPS Hospital was horrifically injured as she was crushed between two floors while riding an elevator. Investigations revealed that JPS has had issues with their elevators for almost a year before the nurse was injured, trapping 13 people in just 12 months. This problem should have been fixed. All elevators, but especially hospital elevators, should be safe.

Whether this string of incidents is due to faulty design, sub-standard maintenance, or a combination of the two, there is no doubt that these elevators are unreasonably dangerous and pose a hazard to the general public.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to a grievous injury that could have been prevented, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

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