The conveniences that technology can provide are becoming easier to access from our very own homes. For those of us with conditions that keep us from using the stairs, having the ease of access of a lift or home elevator can be life-changing. Such technology allows such people access to their own homes without much trouble – that is, so long as that technology does not fail them.
Unfortunately, at-home elevators can have more problems than most adaptive technologies, and often there are design flaws or defects in the manufacturing that end up injuring someone – or worse. If you have suffered injuries from a flaw in your in-home elevator, you can seek damages through our experienced Georgia injury attorneys and by filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer of your equipment.
At-home elevator recalls
As recent as January 11, 2022, NPR reports that there have been three at-home elevator recalls. These recalls were announced in conjunction with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), and include Bella residential elevators, Inclinator residential elevators, and Savaria- and Garaventa-branded residential elevators.
These recalls were due to the fear of children becoming trapped inside the space between the elevator door and the exterior landing door which could lead to seriously injuries. With 69,000 individual products being recalled, the companies are promising to send out complimentary “space guards” that can be attached to the inside of the landing doors and fill the gap.
While there were no injuries reported as the inciting incident for this recall, there have been injuries reported in the past involving at-home elevators. Per NPR, “In July, a boy died in a North Carolina vacation rental after being trapped in the home’s elevator. In other incidents, the CPSC said, children have suffered multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and other lifelong injuries.” In 2020, the Otis company recalled its elevators for the same issues as the current recall.
What injuries can I sustain from in-home elevators?
If you have one of these defective in-home elevators, then you should be aware of the risks they can pose to you. These injuries can include:
- Burn injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
According to the recalls issued by the CPSC, young children are at risk of entrapment. Per CPSC, children can also suffer “skull fractures, fractured vertebrae, traumatic asphyxia and other horrific and lifelong injuries” as a result of a defective in-home elevator.
These injuries can all take a long time to heal depending on severity and can even prove fatal in some cases. Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage can end up changing a person’s life forever should they have to suffer partial or total paralysis due to their injuries. The medical bills for these injuries could be astronomical.
What should I do if I have a defective in-home elevator?
If you have an in-home elevator, you should immediately stop using it. CPSC recommends having a qualified elevator inspector look over the elevator to determine any safety risks or hazards. Then, contact the elevator manufacturing company about replacement parts to ensure it is safe. Work with an experienced installer to repair and/or replace your elevator.
If you or your child sustained injuries because of a defective in-home elevator, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the elevator, the owner/operator of the elevator, or both.
What is product liability?
Companies and manufacturers are supposed to be held to a certain standard when it comes to creating and engineering technology and equipment for public use. Their products should be safe for everyone to use. Under Georgia law, manufacturers must avoid any manufacturing defects, design errors, or misleading instructions and advertising. If defects or errors get past inspection and out to the public, then there could be thousands of injuries suffered by users who have no idea of any such defects.
When you file a lawsuit against a company for faulty product design or manufacturing, that is called a product liability claim. A product liability claim can include:
- Failure to warn/ labeling defects: This is when the manufacturer failed to warn the public of potential dangers while using a product.
- Design defects: This is where the design of the product can lead to the product being inherently dangerous.
- Manufacturing defects: This is where an event occurs during the manufacturing process that makes the product dangerous.
As a general rule, you only have two years to file a product liability lawsuit against a company, and it is better to file sooner rather than later. the experienced product liability attorney of Harris Lowry Manton LLP have obtained significant verdicts and settlements for injured clients.
What is premises liability?
Property owners are legally responsible for making sure that their premises are safe. When a property owner fails to keep their property safe for visitors or others who come onto their property, they can be subject to a premises liability lawsuit.
In this instance, you might visit another person’s home, whether it is a friend’s home or an Airbnb, with one such in-home elevator. If, in using the elevator, you are injured, and you were not made aware of the dangers and risks of using that elevator, you could have a premises liability case.
If you have suffered an injury from an in-home elevator, you may be eligible for damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP today. Call our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847 or our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or visit our contact page to schedule a free consultation.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.