Our Atlanta product liability lawyers know that products in your own house can be dangerous, especially to children. A news story last week talked about a Georgia family’s saga with a home elevator, which caused their young son to become disabled.
Michael and Brandi Helvey invested $20,000 for a National Wheel-O-Vator Destiny elevator in their home to help Michael’s 80 year old mother who moved in with them. It worked so well they recommended it to neighbors. But on Christmas Eve three years ago the elevators dangers became apparent. The Helvey’s have a son, Jacob, who was three years old at the time and curious about his surroundings. The parents thought they had been careful with child gates in their home. But Jacob stood on his tip toes and managed to open the elevator’s swinging outer door. That swinging outer door closed and latched, and trapped Jacob against the inner door on the elevator car. Brandi Helvey heard noises and pushed the elevator button from upstairs, and when it started the elevator dragged Jacob. They put the elevator back down once again, but the movement shoved Jacob feet first into the elevator shaft, trapping his chest tightly in the small space. The family tried to get him out for 10 minutes with no success. When the emergency crew finally arrived, he had nearly suffocated to death already. Jacob survived, but he suffered terrible injuries. He has brain damage from lack of oxygen to his brain, he cannot speak, and he is now a quadriplegic.
Jacob Helvey and the Helvey family are not alone, sadly. These swinging door elevators have become more popular in homes in recent years, particularly to help elderly family members. At least seven children have died due to accidents with these kind of elevators since 1995. Despite this, most who install these elevators don’t know of the dangers. “We never had any idea this could happen,” said Michael Helvey. “But we found out that the industry knows all about this. There are other cases. My son was just the only one we know of who survived.” He and his family settled a lawsuit this year against National Wheel-o-Vator and their parent company, ThyssenKrupp Access.
Manufacturers estimate there are about 125,000 swing-door elevators in use around the United States, and another 5,000 sold annually the last few years, mostly for townhouses and single-family homes. People need to be aware of the dangers and more needs to be done to protect small children from getting trapped.
Atlanta Product Liability Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss what happened, whether you have a case, and how to move forward, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.
Everyone at Sammons & Carpenter wish you and your family a Happy Holidays!
See Our Related Blog Posts: