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Fatal Elevator Accidents Prompt Regulator Concern

This summer brought the return of the vacationers in U.S. after a year of being unable to travel, and with it a return to the use of rental vacation properties.  U.S. federal regulators are calling on vacation rental websites like Airbnb to review and strengthen their policies to protect customers from injuries caused by outdated elevators on properties listed on their websites.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is specifically calling on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to alert customers to the risks from outdated elevators on their rental properties. There have been a number of elevator-related injuries in such vacation rental properties across the country, and some of these injuries have been fatal.  The most recent incident involved the death of a seven year-old child who suffered fatal injuries when he became entrapped between the doors of the elevator. The accident occurred at a beach vacation home.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is calling on holiday and vacation rental websites like Airbnb and Trip Advisor to require their hosts who rent out these properties to disable any residential elevators on their properties. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is asking that hosts provide recent certification from inspectors, certifying that there are no hazardous gaps between the doors of their elevators.

VRBO has already assured federal authorities that it is taking steps to protect customers on the rental properties that are listed on its platform.  The company recently released a statement stating that the company will share this important information with owners of properties who currently have residential elevators installed on their premises. VRBO says that it will recommend that hosts disable elevators until these can be subjected to a thorough inspection. Hosts will be required to make sure that all the elevators on their properties are inspected and certified as safe for use, and disabled if it is not possible to get these certified immediately.

Elevator injuries and accidents are much rarer than they used to be thanks in a large part to new laws.  These laws specifically addressed the risk of entrapment between the doors of the elevators, requiring that the gap be minimized to prevent the risk of children being trapped between the doors. However, the existing risk comes from thousands of elevators in the United States that are older and do not meet the new standards.

There is still plenty of time for summer vacation travel this year.  If you are a family travelling with young children this summer and are planning to book a vacation rental home, ensure that the property has no functioning elevator. If you do need a elevator for your personal use, ensure that the property owner or host is able to supply information about the safety certification of the elevator.

The Atlanta premises liability attorneys at the Katz Law Firm are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries on another person’s property as a result of negligence.  If you have suffered injuries on a commercial property like a hotel, mall, or restaurant or any other type of commercial premises, talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss whether you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may qualify for a claim that helps you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic damages, as well non-economic damages.

 

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