We rely on elevators, and—unless you’re claustrophobic—you probably step into them most of the time without even thinking about it. Or, if you are thinking about elevators, it’s wondering why it always takes so long for the doors to close. While we can’t explain that, we can give you a bit more insight into the safety of elevators. Knowing how common elevator-related injuries occur might help people have a safer ride.
Injuries to Those Aged 65 and Up
In an analysis of data reported to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, researchers estimated that 44,880 elevator injuries had occurred from 1990 to 2006 among U.S. adults aged 65 and older during that period.
Slightly more than half of these injuries occurred because of a slip, trip, or fall. Most involved soft tissue, often to the upper extremities.
While only 15 percent of these injuries were severe enough to require hospitalization, more than 40 percent of those involved a fracture of a hip.
The researchers concluded that older Americans should use caution when entering and exiting elevators.
Injuries of Children
With a similar analysis, researchers concluded that children sustained 29,030 elevator-related injuries from 1990 to 2004. Like the older Americans, children’s most frequent injury was soft-tissue damage, and the most frequent site of injury was the upper extremity of the body.
However, the cause of injury was different. For children, the most frequent cause of injury was an elevator door closing on a body part. Therefore, the researchers warned that it’s important to closely supervise children near elevators to reduce their risk of harm.
Do People Die in Elevators?
In 2020, researchers concluded there were only 48 deaths in U.S. elevators in the past 30 years. Of these, 15 were related to elevator maintenance and building construction—so while tragic, less surprising. Of the remaining, a number involved passengers trying to leave an elevator when it was stuck. Only one death resulted from a sudden malfunction. In that case, the elevator dropped two floors, resulting in a passenger sustaining spinal injuries that ultimately led to her death nine years later.
Therefore, elevator deaths are incredibly rare, and most are preventable. Take precautions during construction or maintenance; only trained professionals should work on elevators. Avoid risky behavior. And if passengers are stuck in an elevator, in most cases, it’s safer to wait for rescue to help them safely leave the car.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to an elevator accident or any other premises-related incident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Greer Law today at 720-637-2467 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation with an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer.