Home elevator defect raises safety concerns

This summer, a 7-year-old boy died from a tragic residential elevator accident at a beach rental home in Outer Banks, N.C. The boy suffered fatal injuries after getting caught between the inner and outer accordion doors of the moving elevator, trapping him between the bottom of the car and the upper door frame.  

Incidents similar to this have happened before, often resulting in serious injury or fatality. Elevator entrapments claimed the lives of at least eight children in the nearly four decades between 1981 and 2019, The Washington Post reports, and two more were seriously injured.

Custom Elevator Manufacturing Inc., made the elevator that was involved in the latest deadly accident.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against another elevator manufacturer to supply a fix to the issue three days before the latest elevator death in North Carolina. The CPSC complaint alleges that ThyssenKrupp’s elevators “manufactured and distributed through 2012 were installed with a hazardous gap.”

Plastic, wooden or foam inserts are available for installation to block the gap and reduce the safety issue. Industry officials, however, have repeatedly told regulators that the issue is complicated and not their responsibility to resolve, according to a 2019 investigation by The Washington Post.

“Our deepest condolences are with the families who have lost loved ones to these very tragic accidents,” said Motley Rice lawyer, Kevin Dean. “Safety improvements must be made by the manufacturers to stop this from occurring.”

Motley Rice attorneys have experience representing victims in catastrophic accidents and litigating cases of head trauma caused by elevator entrapment. For more information and to discuss a potential claim, reach Kevin R. Dean, by email, or call 1.800.768.4026.