Landlords and Maintenance Companies Share Responsibility for Elevator Accidents

Any time you walk into a building in Georgia and see an elevator, you’re looking at a collaboration between at least two separate organizations, usually more.

First, there’s the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, which is responsible for performing regular inspections on all licensed elevators in Georgia.

Typically, there’s also a private company providing regular maintenance, to make sure the elevator stays in compliance and can pass its inspections.

Then, there’s the owner of the building, who’s responsible for making any necessary arrangements to keep the premises safe for occupants and guests, and there might even be a separate business renting and physically possessing the property.

All of these entities must do their part to make sure the elevator does not pose a threat to public safety.

A Teenager Is in the Hospital After Falling Down an Elevator Shaft at Arnall Grocery

On November 7th, at the Arnall Grocery store on East Broad Street in Newnan, a 15-year-old boy fell about a story and a half down an open elevator shaft. He was injured badly enough in the fall that he had to be extracted from the shaft by firefighters and airlifted to a local hospital. Doctors there were able to stabilize his condition.

The boy was an employee of the grocery store. It’s not clear whether he was on duty at the time of the accident, what he was working on if so, or why the elevator shaft was accessible at all.

The most likely explanations are that the elevator was not functioning properly, or that someone was actively performing work on it, without putting up adequate barriers and warning signs.

A Lawyer Can Help You Decide How to Pursue Compensation for Your Elevator Accident

Because property owners can’t maintain their own elevators without outside help, it’s not always obvious who is responsible for an elevator accident. With a little digging, however, a good personal injury lawyer can identify the correct defendant for a lawsuit, as well as any alternative options the family might want to explore.

In this recent accident at Arnell Grocery, for example, there are five possible avenues for pursuing compensation:

  1. Suing the elevator maintenance company — If the last person to work on the elevator failed to notice a problem with it, or created a problem with it, their company could be liable for the boy’s injuries. The same could be true if the company recognized the problem but gave Arnell Grocery bad advice on what to do while waiting for assistance.
  2. Suing the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner itself. This is a longer shot, because the law requires building owners to proactively request inspections. However, the office’s failure to track out-of-date elevators is a documented and ongoing safety issue for Georgia residents.
  3. Filing a worker’s comp claim — If the boy was on the clock when the truck accident happened, worker’s comp is the first-line source of financial assistance. Worker’s comp is never an ideal option, because it only provides coverage for medical bills and possibly some lost income, not for pain, emotional suffering, or lost quality of life. However, worker’s comp payments are usually fast enough to help with immediate expenses, and accepting one does not close off other options for the future.
  4. Suing Arnell Grocery — If the boy was not on the clock at the time of the accident, or if Arnell Grocery denies his worker’s comp claim, the family may be able to sue the company for premises liability.
  5. Suing Arnell Grocery’s landlord (if applicable) — If Arnell Grocery does not own its own premises, the actual owner may share liability too.

If you are the guardian of the boy who was injured in the Arnal Grocery accident, or if you have also been harmed by a malfunctioning elevator in Georgia, reach out to the Stoddard firm to discuss the details of your case and learn about how we can help.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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