Faulty Elevator Door Knocked 75 Year Old Woman to the Ground...

by Cynthia
(Belle Plaine, IA USA)

In September 2011 my mother, sister, daughter and myself traveled from Iowa to a hotel in Alabama. As we were going to our room on the 4th floor, my sister exited the elevator first, I was standing by the area where the buttons were holding the door so my 75 year old mother could get out. My daughter was standing behind my mother.

As my mom was walking out, she was right in the track of the door and all of a sudden it was shutting. I had my hand on the door the whole time but I could not get it to stop. It slammed my mother hitting her on her right side and slammed her into the elevator wall knocking her to the floor.

We were frantic, she was crying, my daughter picked her up off the floor and my sister helped her to the room. We were stunned, upset and crying. My daughter and sister went down to the front desk and were very upset. I was with my mom asking her if she was okay. The ambulance was called and they checked her out. She didn't want to go to the hospital.

She had bruises and could hardly move the next day. She was in terrible pain. But she didn't want to say too much because we were down there for my nephew's graduation ceremony from Fort Benning. We were in the hotel 3 nights. The hotel manager was very concerned and they offered to reimburse my mom for 1 night. This hotel was just built over a year ago I believe.

There had to be something wrong with the sensor in the elevator door. It should have stopped with my hand on the door and with my mother standing right in the track of the door. The manager did say they had the elevator checked and everything was okay. I know there were cameras close to the elevator so maybe they caught the incident.

What kind of case do we have. Can we do anything against the hotel? Or is it the elevator manufacturer or repair company responsible for this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Faulty Elevator Door Knocked 75 Year Old Woman to the Ground...":

Cynthia (Belle Plaine, IA, USA):

Actually, if you were to pursue a claim it could be against the hotel and the elevator manufacturing company.

The most important issue is the health of your mother. It would have been better if you had taken your mother to a hospital or local medical clinic to be checked out immediately after her injury. Not doing so might create a problem when attempting to collect compensation for her injuries.

The hotel and elevator manufacturing companies may consider your decision not to take her for medical care over attending a graduation ceremony as proof your mother’s injuries weren’t serious.

It’s not too late to pursue a claim though. The Statute of Limitations, or “time period” in which you are permitted by law to either settle your mother’s case or file a lawsuit is 2 years from the date of her injury.

There are several important issues to consider...

The first is the availability of an incident report from the hotel. The second is the ambulance report and medical chart created by the paramedics. Contact the hotel and ask them for a copy of the incident report. They may refer to it as something else, but whatever it is you want a copy of it.

Next, contact the ambulance company and request a copy of your mother’s chart, and any other documents they created which were related to your mother’s care. Your mother will probably have to sign a medical release to recover the medical documentation.

Next, take your mother to a doctor. She needs to be fully examined. Hopefully her injuries have resolved, but if not it's important you know so she can receive whatever treatment is necessary.

Your final step should be to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. Speak with several of them before you choose one. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation.

Once you have gone through all the above steps you will know exactly what the issues are and what type of a case, if any, your mother has against the hotel and elevator manufacturing company.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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