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Has someone in your family been injured or killed by a defective residential elevator? If so, you may need an injury attorney or lawyer for a residential elevator lawsuit in your family’s behalf, claiming payments for your many losses.

History of Elevator Defects

Residential elevators have a long history — about 80 years — of defects and entrapments. Yet the elevator industry has not adopted voluntary safety standards to correct their deadly design and manufacturing flaws.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 1,600 injuries related to residential elevators happened from 2011 to 2012 alone. That’s an average of 800 injuries per year for a relatively esoteric device not found in most homes.

Also, since 1967 a minimum of 55 children have been killed due to residential elevators, and at least seven are believed to have died since 1995 due to such elevators, also known as swing-door elevators.

Too, a lawsuit against Otis Elevator regarding a boy’s death in 2001 revealed 34 other children who had been killed or maimed by residential elevators in a 10-year period beginning in 1983 in New Jersey and in southern parts of New York only.

Safety Standards Needed

Clearly, new safety standards are needed for new residential elevators to eliminate entrapment dangers. and many older or existing elevators should be recalled.

Indeed, the CPSC has published a petition in the Federal Register urging such changes as well as a recall of existing residential elevators to fix the dangers which have led to so many injuries and deaths.

And, in March of 2015, federal safety regulators recalled around 240 residential hydraulic elevators in response to reports of safety-related accidents causing severe injuries to children.

Some newer home elevators have infrared sensors which can detect trapped children and prevent movement, as well as other safety elements. But most home elevators still have a two-door system that allows children to become trapped between the doors as the elevator moves. New safety standards are desperately needed.

Child Entrapment Elevator Lawsuits

Many harrowing, frightening and disturbing home elevator calamities have happened over the decades, often to small children. Some of these have led to residential elevator lawsuits or child entrapment lawsuits on behalf of victims and their families.

One elevator lawsuit involved Jordan Nelson, 10, of Baltimore, Maryland. He suffered quadriplegia and catastrophic brain injuries when he became entrapped and pinned beneath an elevator car in a vacation house his family had rented in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

The home had an Elmira Hydraulic residential elevator, a model manufactured in Canada by Cambridge Elevating and sold for up to $25,000. Jordan became trapped while not completely inside the elevator, which continued to move and crushed him.

Extricating him from the elevator required the jaws of life, and the boy now needs full-time care. Such injuries are lifelong and extremely costly. A lawsuit regarding the incident was settled for over $16 million.

As a result of this case, such elevators were recalled. But many more dangerous residential elevators remain in use.

A 2003 lawsuit brought against Otis Elevators for a similar incident was resolved in a $3 million settlement with Otis. By 2012, Otis had left business of swing-door and residential elevators.

Elevator Design Flaws

While America waits for a widespread elevator recall, child entrapment injuries continue to occur.

This is due to an inherent design flaw in many existing residential elevators, which don’t have the same features as most commercial institution elevators. Such residential elevators have an outer door and an inner door between which small children can become inadvertently trapped as the elevator moves.

Elevator injuries to children happen when the elevator moves — perhaps summoned from another floor — while the child is trapped between the two doors. When the elevator starts moving, the hoistway door locks automatically and the child is carried along with it — on the outside — until meeting an obstruction and being crushed.

Also known as swing-door elevators, the devices don’t have a sliding door as commercial buildings’ elevators but rather an outer door — looking like an ordinary home door — which swings open on hinges, thus requiring less wall space. An inner gate is on the elevator car itself.

These home elevators have been used for decades, and it’s believed about 125,000 are in use currently across the United States.

Many are in vacation homes rented by families which may be three stories high and have a residential elevator as a luxury. Some commercial buildings and older apartments and townhomes also have elevators of the same or a similar design.

Even with training in how to use the elevator, children can be harmed accidentally due to the potential trap of getting caught between the two doors. When the doors are closed, the elevator is primed to move if called from a different floor, and the child is trapped between the doors as it moves and can become crushed by obstructions in the elevator shaft.

In short, the excessive space between the inner and outer elevator doors is killing and maiming children. This space has been modified and squeezed over the years, but due to the gaps in an accordion-type inner door, children have about 7 inches of space in which to fit — too much space to keep them out.

Residential Elevator Lawyer

Families who have experienced tragic injuries or deaths from residential elevators can seek economic justice with help from the Willis Law Firm. Our experienced injury attorneys stand ready to assist.

Contact us today for a free and no-obligation legal evaluation of your case. You may be legally entitled to substantial financial compensation for your losses, including medical bills, long-term care, rehabilitation costs and pain and suffering.

Whether or not a particularly elevator has been recalled has no bearing on your right to filing a residential elevator lawsuit against the designer, manufacturer or installer of an elevator which harmed a loved one. Take action today. Notify the Willis Law Firm today for help in resolving your family’s case.

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