Stuck In A Lift At Work – Can I Claim Compensation?

By Ed Dash. Last Updated 24th June 2022. Being stuck in a lift or elevator can be a traumatic experience. Not only can the mechanical fault or malfunction cause injuries such as cuts and bruises, but the incident can cause distress and anxiety. In this guide, we’ll explore your rights when it comes to claiming compensation.

Employers in Great Britain have a duty to ensure the safety of their staff while at work wherever possible. This means they need to take steps to reduce risks and remove dangers.

This could be something as simple as using warning signs to alert staff to dangers or maintaining equipment. One such piece of equipment is an elevator or lift. If you’ve been stuck in a lift at work because of some form of employer negligence, you could be entitled to seek compensation from them. In this guide, we’ll look at the types of injury you could claim for, when your employer might be liable and how much compensation you could receive.

Legal Helpline believes that you should be able to claim compensation for suffering caused by somebody else’s negligence without worrying about the costs involved. That’s why we provide completely free claims advice and a no-obligation assessment of your claim. Furthermore, if one of the solicitors on our panel takes on your claim, it’ll be on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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An Overview Of Claims Relating To Being Stuck In A Lift At Work

You might think that being stuck in a lift at work is just one of those things that’s beyond anyone’s control. In fact, that is sometimes the case. However, there are times when the breakdown of the lift could be due to a lack of maintenance or using the lift in a way that’s not recommended by the manufacturer. In these cases, it may be possible to claim compensation for any suffering caused. This can include physical injuries or psychological suffering like post-traumatic stress disorder or Cleithrophobia (the fear of being trapped).

Stuck in a lift at work compensation claim

Stuck in a lift at work compensation claim

The reason you might be able to claim is that employers have a duty of care to ensure their staff’s safety wherever possible. If they breach that duty of care, and you suffer in any way, you could be entitled to sue. You shouldn’t worry about claiming against your employer though. So long as your claim is honest, your employer can’t dismiss you, punish you or treat you any differently.

In this guide, we’ll explain what to do if you’re stuck in a lift, what laws are used to govern their use and when an employer might be liable when they break down. We’ll also review compensation amounts that could be paid. It’s important to note that there’s a 3-year personal injury claims time limit. This begins from the date any avoidable suffering is diagnosed. Therefore, our advice is to begin seeking legal advice as soon as possible. Although 3-years is a long time, a solicitor will need to gather evidence to support your claims such as witness statements and medical reports.

When you’ve finished reading this guide, you can begin a claim by speaking with an advisor. They’ll listen to what’s happened and advise you of your options.

What Should You Do If Stuck In A Lift At Work?

Being stuck in a lift will affect different people in different ways. Some people won’t be affected adversely at all but for others, it can be truly traumatic. Here is some advice about what to do, and not to do, if you ever become stuck:

  • Stay calm and don’t panic. If there are multiple people stuck with you, the environment can become very warm very quickly. Staying calm will help reduce the temperature and make the situation more bearable.
  • Press the emergency call button. This should either put you in contact with somebody in the building or the maintenance company.
  • Don’t force open the doors. If you try to escape while the lift begins to move, you could put yourself in serious danger.
  • Call your employer on a mobile if the emergency call button doesn’t function correctly if you’re able to do so.

Guidelines For The Safe Operation Of Passenger Lifts

If a lift in a workplace is used by people, it is subject to strict periodic inspection and examinations under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

This means that a competent person should assess items including:

  • Car doors and their interlocks.
  • Suspension ropes.
  • Safety gear.
  • Electrical devices (earthing, fuses etc).
  • Braking systems.
  • Hydraulic systems.

There should be a duty holder whose legal responsibilities for the lift include:

  • Maintaining the lift so it’s safe.
  • Making sure the lift is examined every 6 or 12 months.
  • Selecting the competent person (for testing).
  • Fixing any faults promptly.
  • Record keeping.
  • Providing the competent person with any documentation.

Laws Applying To Safe Passenger Lift Operation

The main legislation relevant for lifts is The Lift Regulations 2016. This legislation puts an onus on lift installers to ensure that any lifts they install comply with health and safety requirements. They must then obtain a CE mark and keep it up to date for 10 years. Furthermore, they need to investigate any safety complaints and keep records of the complaint.

There are separate obligations for manufactures, distributors and importers of lifts which are all explained in the legislation. The regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Great Britain.

What Causes Elevators And Lifts To Get Stuck?

As mentioned earlier, a good way to protect a lift from failure is to maintain it in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. There are a number of reasons why a lift may fail, these include:

  • Power cuts. If the power to a building is cut, the elevator may stop functioning and anybody inside may need rescuing. In cases where the building has power, but the lift short-circuits, a compensation claim might be possible for any injuries caused if it is found that the electrical circuits hadn’t been maintained properly.
  • Oil contamination. If the lift’s engine isn’t examined and maintained properly, tiny bits of metal can get into the oil. This can cause problems with motor and stop the lift from operating correctly.
  • System Failure. The operating system of the lift is responsible for making sure functions like doors opening happens at the correct time. If the operating system fails, and the doors won’t open, then any passengers will be stuck. They could claim for any injuries caused or suffering due to being stuck in the lift if it’s found that system maintenance procedures weren’t adequate.

If any form of failure is found to have been caused by inadequate maintenance, you could sue for any injuries caused or suffering due to being stuck in the lift for any period of time.

What Injuries Could Be Caused By Being Stuck In A Lift At Work?

As well as the trauma that can be caused by being stuck in a lift (see the next section for more details), it’s possible to suffer physical injuries when a lift breaks down. The most common reason for becoming injured is because of a fall when the lift stops suddenly. This can result in head injuries including concussion, back injuries, fractured bones, cuts and bruises.

If you’ve suffered a physical injury when a lift broke down if it is found to have been caused by inadequate maintenance you could be entitled to claim for the pain and suffering your injuries caused. Please call an advisor to discuss whether you can begin a claim.

Psychological And Psychiatric Injuries Caused By Being Stuck In A Lift

If you are stuck in a lift at work, or in any other setting, you could sustain both physical and psychological injuries. The severity of the injuries may vary depending on the type of lift accident. Physical injuries could include bruises or broken bones.

However, being stuck in a lift can also have mental side effects that could be short-term, long-term, or even permanent in some cases.

Anxiety disorders can be one example of this. Another is claustrophobia, which is the fear of confined spaces.

Cleithrophobia can be another example. It is similar to claustrophobia, except that the fear can be assuaged by the sufferer being aware of a way out of the situation. It is a fear of being trapped rather than a fear of confined spaces.

To illustrate, someone who suffers from cleithrophobia may be less affected than someone who is claustrophobic when travelling in a lift because the space has a door that opens and closes.

However, phobias such as these can be complex things. Everybody is different, so they may be impacted in different ways. Regardless, if your mental health has been impacted by your employer’s negligence (for example, if they were aware of a faulty lift but they ignored it, causing you to become stuck in it) then you could be eligible to claim compensation from them.

Claiming For PTSD Caused By Being Stuck In A Lift At Work

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has had a lot of coverage in the press over recent years because of military operations abroad. However, according to the NHS, there are a number of causes of PTSD including exposure to traumatic events at work. This could include being stuck in a lift.

Usually, symptoms of PTSD will begin within a month of the traumatic event. It can have a dramatic effect on daily life for the sufferer. They may experience flashbacks, nightmares, physical pain, sweating, vomiting or trembling.

Another symptom of PTSD is that the victim will try to avoid being remembered of the incident. For instance, after being stuck in a lift at work, they may try to avoid the building to push the memory of the incident away.

Other issues associated with PTSD include depression, anxiety and the development of phobias and these can lead to self-harming or destructive behaviour such as alcohol misuse or drug misuse.

The NHS advice is that you should seek medical advice if your symptoms persist around 4-weeks after the traumatic event. A GP can discuss your symptoms and may refer you to specialists if they think treatment would be beneficial.

Stuck In A Lift At Work – Compensation Payouts For 2022

As we’ve seen above, it’s possible to claim compensation for being stuck in a lift or elevator at work if you can prove it happened due to your employer’s negligence.

Although it’s hard to determine definitive compensation payouts without knowing more about your case, we can glean an idea from examining the guidelines of the Judicial College.

Published in April 2022, the figures you can see below relate to different injuries that could be sustained in a lift or elevator accident.

Type Of InjurySeverityRangeInformation
Psychological InjurySevere£51,460 to £108,620Cases where the claimant receives a very poor prognosis from a psychiatrist.
Psychological InjuryModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460An example in this category could be work-related stress which causes a disability which prevents a return to comparable work.
Psychological InjuryModerate£5,500 to £17,900Work-related stress where symptoms are not prolonged, and the prognosis is good, are included in this category.
Psychological InjuryLess Severe£1,440 to £5,500This category will take into account the period of disability that affects sleep and daily activities.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderate£7,680 to £21,730Cases where the claimant has largely recovered and any continuing effects won't be largely disabling.

What Else Can I Claim For?

While above you can see payouts for physical and psychological injuries, it’s also possible to be compensated for financial losses incurred because of your injuries. For instance, you could recover costs such as:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Travel costs
  • Medication costs
  • Care costs

To successfully claim back these expenses you must keep and supply evidence, otherwise, the defendant may refuse to compensate you.

To learn more about compensation payouts after being stuck in an elevator, please get in touch.

Click Here To Learn More About Loss Of Earnings

Steps To Take To Make A Claim Against Your Workplace

If you decide that you’d like to make a personal injury claim against your employer, you’ll need to provide evidence. This will need to show who was to blame, what happened and how you suffered. Therefore, if you have been stuck in a lift, you could take the following steps to secure evidence to support your claim:

  • Take photographs. If there is any visible damage to the elevator, try to take photographs before it’s repaired.
  • Report the accident. Businesses are required to record any workplace accidents in a report book. This report will help confirm dates, times, people involved and any advice or treatment that was provided.
  • Seek medical treatment. Medical records can be used to prove any injuries you’ve sustained. Therefore, if you do visit a GP or the hospital, you could ask for copies to help substantiate your claim.
  • Gather witness details. If anybody else was with you when you got stuck in the lift, ask them for their contact details. Your solicitor may want to ask them for a witness statement at a later date.
  • Obtain CCTV footage. Should the lift be covered by CCTV cameras, you could ask your employer for a copy of the footage.

This might seem like a lot of work but any evidence you can supply could make the process of seeking compensation easier. It’s best to try and obtain evidence as soon as possible because, after a while, some types of evidence might not be available (CCTV footage for example).

No Win No Fee Psychological Injury Claims For Being Stuck In A Lift At Work

We understand that people worry about the cost of personal injury claims. To reduce that concern and to give claimants the confidence to pursue the compensation they could be entitled to, our panel of solicitors handle claims on a No Win No Fee basis.

To begin the case, your solicitor will review the claim with you. When they’re happy that the case has merit, they’ll prepare a No Win, No Fee agreement for you. This is also known as a conditional fee agreement or CFA.

When you review the CFA, you’ll notice that:

  • The case can begin right away with no upfront fees.
  • You don’t need to pay any fees during the claim.
  • You won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees if your claim is unsuccessful.

When a claim is won, and you receive compensation, your solicitor will ask for a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a success fee and it’s a percentage of your compensation deducted at the end of the claim. The success fee you’ll pay is listed in the CFA and they’re legally capped, so you don’t need to worry too much about them.

Speak with a member of our team today to find out if you could claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Why Choose Legal Helpline?

Thanks for reading our guide about claiming compensation for being stuck in a lift at work. If you’ve decided that you’d like to begin a claim with Legal Helpline, here are our contact details:

  • Call and speak with a specialist advisor on 0161 696 9685
  • Use our live chat facility to connect with an online advisor.
  • Or arrange for a specialist to call you back by completing our claims form.

When you get in touch, an advisor will review your claim with you. They’ll begin by asking what happened, how you suffered and who you blame. After reviewing your claim, and any evidence you’ve supplied, they could refer you to a personal injury solicitor from our panel. If they agree your claim is viable, they’ll work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Useful Links

You’ve now come to the end of this guide about claiming compensation for being stuck in a lift at work. In case you require any further information, we’ve provided some links below to more of our guides and some external information as well.

Accident At Work Claims – A guide that explains when compensation could be claimed following a workplace accident.

Trapped In A Lift Claims – This guide shows how a personal injury lawyer could help you claim after being trapped in a lift. The guide covers scenarios other than workplace accidents.

Slips, Trips And Falls – Information about when you could claim for a fall caused by somebody else’s negligence.

Passenger Lifts – A guide from the Health and Safety Executive about the safe use of lifts in the workplace.

Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 – The legislation – employers duty of care for staff safety.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Information from the NHS about PTSD causes, symptoms and treatment options.

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