Types of Elevators: Stairlifts
While a stairlift is not technically an elevator or an escalator, it falls into a similar category. This is because it serves a similar purpose as these other devices – it is a mechanical device used to transport people from one floor of a building to another. Just like an elevator or escalator, a stairlift can malfunction and cause injuries. On this page, I will discuss the stairlift and related injuries in greater detail.
What is a Stairlift?
A stairlift is a mechanical device used to transport people up and down stairs. Generally speaking, stairlifts are used for people who cannot go up and down stairs on their own. For example, someone who has an injury to their legs, someone who is paralyzed, or the elderly oftentimes use a stairlift.
Stairlifts work by attaching a rail to the tread of a staircase. Then some kind of platform or chair is attached to the rail. People can stand or sit on this platform or chair, press a button, and the rail will slowly move them up the staircase.
There are a few popular types of stairlifts that you or someone you know might use. The first is the straight rail stairlift. These rails are the most popular type of stairlift used in a residential setting. This version is the basic one that I mentioned above.
Another type of stairlift is the curved rail stairlift. They are used when the staircase in question is not straight, but rather, has a curve in it. The rail is designed to follow the curve of the stairs. These stairlifts need to be custom made to fit the individual staircase, so it can take longer to get them and they can be more expensive than straight rail staircases.
Finally, there is the wheelchair platform stairlift, another popular option. As you might guess, the wheelchair platform stairlift is sturdy and large enough to support a wheelchair. These stairlifts are common for public spaces or the exterior of private homes.
All of these stairlifts are good options if you or a loved one cannot get up and down stairs on your own. Installing a stairlift in your home is likely much less expensive than trying to have a traditional elevator installed. But, stairlifts can be dangerous if they are not properly installed or maintained. If a stairlift breaks while in use, the passenger could slide to the bottom of the staircase or get stuck. Neither of these options are good, and could lead to injuries.
When your stairlift is installed, make sure that the installation goes smoothly. Make sure that qualified people are installing the stairlift, and test it out before the installation crew leaves. This will help you feel comfortable that the stairlift was installed properly.
It can also be helpful to have the stairlift checked frequently. Make sure that no parts are broken, which could lead to malfunctions. Regular upkeep can help keep the stairlift from breaking.
If an injury does occur on a stairlift, you need to determine what happened. Was there an installation problem? Was some of the equipment defective? Was maintenance not provided? Consider these questions to help you determine who is at fault and how to proceed. If you would like the opinion of a lawyer, you can contact our office. We can go over these questions, as well as others, with you. This can help you determine the right course of action to take.