A Guide To Claiming If You Were Stuck In A Lift At Work

By Lewis Winehouse. Last Updated 19th April 2023. 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.

Stuck In The Lift – How You Could Be Affected

After getting stuck at work in a lift, you could suffer various injuries of differing severities. We’ll discuss the potential mental health impact later on in this guide, but in this section, we want to focus on the physical injuries you may sustain.

Below are some examples of injuries you could suffer following a lift accident:

  • If a lift quickly halts, the sudden movement of your neck may cause a whiplash injury.
  • Your head may hit the ground if a lift suddenly stops, therefore causing a head injury.
  • You could suffer a crush injury if the lift doors malfunction and shut on you.
  • Lift doors may shut on your hand, causing a partial finger amputation.

If you were stuck in the lift at work and suffered harm due to the negligence of your employer, you may be able to claim compensation. Get in touch for more information.

Stuck In A Lift – Psychological Impact

Getting stuck in a elevator could result in a psychiatric injury. However, it’s worth remembering that you can only make a claim for a psychological injury resulting from a lift accident if it was caused directly by a breach of duty of care.

You could suffer the following mental health injuries:

If you have been stuck in a lift and wish to make a claim, speak to our advisors and they can check your eligibility.

How Long Do I Have To Claim After A Lift Accident?

After a lift accident, as with any other type of personal injury claim, a time limit applies. Generally, the limitation period, as set out in the Limitation Act 1980, is three years from the date you sustained your injury or the date you became aware your injuries were caused by negligence.

However, there are exceptions to the time limit. For example, if the claimant was under 18 when they got stuck in the lift and suffered harm, they would have until their 21st birthday to start a claim. The time limit is suspended before this time; during the suspension, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf.

In addition, if a claimant does not have the mental capacity to begin a claim for a lift accident injury, then the time limit is suspended indefinitely until they regain the ability to make decisions for themselves.

If you have any additional questions regarding the personal injury claims time limit, speak to an advisor for free by using our live support chat.

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 InjurySeverityNotesAmount
Psychological DamageSevereCases where the claimant receives a very poor prognosis an will suffer will different aspects of life.£54,830 to £115,730
Psychological DamageModerately SevereThe person will suffer from significant problems but there will be a better prognosis.£19,070 to £54,830
Psychological DamageModerateA good prognosis and marked improvements will have been made despite struggling with various problems.£5,860 to £19,070
Anxiety Disorder Moderately SevereSome room for recovery with help from a professional with a good prognosis. However, the person is still likely to suffer for a while.£23,150 to £59,860
Anxiety Disorder ModerateCases where the claimant has largely recovered and any continuing effects won't be largely disabling.£8,180 to £23,150
Anxiety Disorder Less SevereWithing 2 years a full recovery will have been made.£3,950 to £8,180
Arm Injury(d)The forearms have suffered simple fractures.£6,610 to £19,200
Ankle InjuryModestUndisplaced or minor fractures, ligamentous injuries or sprains. Whether a full recovery has been made will impact how much is awarded.Up to £13,740
Knee InjuryModerate (ii)Twisting, bruising and lacerations that could cause aching and occasional pain.Up to £13,740

Special Damages For Lift Accident Claims

Special damages could be awarded in a personal injury claim involving a lift accident. This offers compensation for any financial harm or out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred due to your injuries.

Examples of financial losses that you could be compensated for in lift accident claims include:

  • A loss of earnings if you’ve had to take time off work to recover from your injuries.
  • Travel expenses if you have had to pay to travel back and forth from a hospital for treatment.
  • Care costs if your injuries have left you requiring a carer.

In order to claim special damages, you’ll need to provide evidence of any financial harm you have suffered due to your injuries. For example:

  • A wage slip can prove a loss of earnings.
  • Receipts may be used as evidence of travel expenses, i.e. a train or bus ticket.
  • Invoices from a carer can prove care costs.

If you have been injured in a lift accident in the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our advisors to see whether you could make a claim. Our advisors could also offer you free advice for your potential claim.

Stuck In A Lift Compensation Claims – What Evidence Do I Need?

If your mental health has been affected by being stuck in a lift, compensation being awarded to you can depend on whether or not you can support your claim. In other words, you need to be able to present evidence that the incident was caused by negligence, and that the incident caused you harm in some way.

Here are some examples of evidence that could be helpful to present:

  • Visual evidence – For instance, the lift in which you were stuck may have been fitted with a CCTV camera. If so, you have a legal right to make a request for the footage you appear in. Video footage can help prove that the incident took place.
  • Witness contact details – There may have been others who were stuck in the lift with you. If so, they could submit a statement in written form to help corroborate your version of events. Whilst this may not be possible at the time, making sure you have a way of contacting them to do at a later date can be helpful.
  • Medical evidence – You may require a psychological evaluation as part of your claim. If your PTSD diagnosis is confirmed by a medical professional, these records can also assist you in making a successful claim.

Get in touch for more examples of evidence you could acquire and with any additional questions you may have.

Stuck In A Lift – No Win No Fee Claims

Whether you are claiming for suffering from distress, or for physical injuries that were caused by being stuck in a lift, you could be able to claim with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor.

No Win No Fee agreements work on the following terms:

  • You will not have to pay your solicitor to hire them
  • They will be paid in the form of a success fee: a legally limited percentage that is deducted from your awarded compensation. You do not pay out of pocket for a success fee
  • The success fee is not awarded if you do not receive compensation

To see if you could with work with a solicitor on such an agreement, please reach out to a member of our team to discuss how you possibly became stuck at work and whether you could claim with a solicitor from our panel.

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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