Can I claim elevator injury compensation for being knocked over by closing doors in an elevator? I broke my arm when I fell awkwardly when the doors closed on me as I was getting in.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Provided it can be established that the elevator was faulty due to a lack of maintenance, due to negligent servicing or a fault had been reported but not acted upon within a reasonable amount of time, it should be possible to make a claim for elevator injury compensation. Establishing that the elevator doors were not operating properly should be straightforward and, if they have not yet been repaired or taken out of service, it would be advisable to return to the building and use your mobile phone to video the doors operating erratically.

Determining who may be liable for your injuries may be more complicated if the building owner claims not to have been made aware of the fault or rejects the idea that a fault ever existed. It may be the case that the fault had recently developed and neither the building owner nor a maintenance company had a reasonable amount of time to identify and act on the hazard – although it should have been taken out of service immediately if there was an ongoing risk of injury to people who used the elevator.

The nature of your accident may also influence the validity of your elevator injury claim if you contributed to the cause of the accident or the extent of your injuries. If, for example, the elevator doors were closing, but you made a run at them and tried to force your way in, it could be considered that you were not using the elevator in the way it was intended and were therefore partly – at least – responsible for the circumstances of your elevator accident.

Although any contributory negligence may not disqualify you from making a claim for an elevator accident, it could affect how much elevator injury compensation you receive as you could be assigned a percentage liability for your injury – a percentage which would then be deducted from and settlement of compensation for an elevator injury.

It would be in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of your elevator accident with a personal injury solicitor at the first practical opportunity. A solicitor may be able to locate witnesses who can testify that the elevator was in poor working order in support of your elevator claim and assist you with the application for assessment to the Injuries Board to ensure – once negligence and liability are established – that you receive your maximum entitlement to elevator injury compensation.