Elevator Accidents –
Deadlines to File Elevator – Escalator Accident Claims
Under Hawaii law the deadline for most Elevator – Escalator Accident Claims in Hawaii is generally two (2) years from the date of the accident. It should be noted, however, that there are exceptions to this rule. Claims against design professionals probably only have a total of six (6) years from the date when the design work was done – regardless of when the accident occurred. There are some other exceptions which may shorten the time and other exceptions which may provide some additional time in certain cases. You must file your claims in court prior to the expiration of such deadlines, or your claims may be lost—regardless of their merit.
Elevator – Escalator Accident Claims Information
Generally an Elevator – Escalator claim arises where a defective elevator or escalator has caused injury. An elevator or escalator may be defective in design or in manufacture. The definition of a product under Hawaii’s product liability doctrine is pretty broad, and the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii has even found that components of a building such as an escalator may be products for the purposes of products liability doctrine. Leong v. Sears Roebuck and Co. Hawaii Supreme Court Case No. 20865 (December 14, 1998).
The absence of a warning of danger may also be a basis for liability for an elevator or escalator accident. This may occur when a building’s management fails to take a dangerous elevator or escalator out of service or fails to warn (or inadequately warns) that an elevator or escalator is malfuncioning, by service personnel who fail to “rope off” their work area or in other ways. However, if a victim is found to have been negligent in using an elevator or escalator (ie. to have failed to use ordinary care), it may reduce or completely defeat any recovery available.
Pursuing Elevator – Escalator Accident Claims
Escalator and elevator cases are generally hard fought by the defense. Escalators and elevators are typically purchased from a third party and then maintained under an ongoing third-party agreement. These maintenance agreements are generally written to keep the maintenance company primarily responsible for the operation and condition of the escalator or elevator; however, the owner probably still has a common carrier’s duty of inspection and maintenance that in most states cannot be delegated. Maintenance and inspection logs are often critical to establishing liability in this type of case. Proving actual or constructive notice of a problem or defect with the elevator or escalator is often a crucial issue. Interviewing and obtaining statements or depositions of the members of the team responsible for the inspections and the maintenance will generally be needed – as well as statements of people who had experienced the malfunction before the accident occurred. A copy of the elevator or escalator permit can usually be obtained from the appropriate county agency and this will provide the basic information on the machinery involved. The purchase documents, the maintenance contracts and the insurance policies for the escalator or elevator should all be examined, if possible, in evaluating an escalator or elevator claim.
To be wise it is recommended that you immediately contact an elevator or escalator accident attorney after an accident giving rise to injuries occurs. Please do not hesitate to :