Disabled Lifts

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...getting trapped in small spaces

Many people have a phobia of being trapped in small spaces – and being stuck in a lift is never a pleasant experience. But what happens if you’re disabled and get trapped?

Head of Multi-Track PI, Melanie Burden, discusses the recent story of Coronation Street actress, Cherrylee Houston – who is a wheelchair user – getting stuck for 20 minutes in a lift – and what it could mean for others who find themselves in the same situation.

Cherrylee makes cobbles history

Cherrylee is the first disabled actress to have been cast in Coronation Street – and, like her fellow actors and actresses, she has not been without drama.

Her on screen character was recently imprisoned for using marijuana to self-medicate her disability – Ehlers-Danlos – which gives the sufferer hypermobility of the joints, along with extremely stretchy, yet fragile skin which can break and bruise easily. In some cases, extreme fatigue and long-term pain can also be a problem.

The actress has been using her fame to highlight some of the issues facing disabled people every single day, where failure of equipment hinders her doing the most basic of tasks.

Live tweet lift trap

Cherrylee brought attention to her situation recently when she tweeted from inside a lift at a service station, saying:

“Upon average I tend to get stuck in three lifts a year. I was doing well until today… #disabledproblems”

She also attached an image of the lift controls, including the emergency bell – and later, an image of a cup of tea the maintenance staff managed to get into the lift to help ease her distress.

Cherrylee’s light-hearted tweet suggests she was used to the situation, but highlights that, worryingly, it is a very common occurrence.

For some disabled users getting stuck in a lift could be a highly distressing environment to find themselves in, especially if the lift drops when in use, paving the way for a variety of problems.

Melanie comments:

“Clearly for the soap star, disabled lifts breaking down happens all the time, luckily Cherrylee was not hurt in this instance. The unfortunate truth, however, is that this could be happening nationwide to other wheelchair users and disabled people, who would find it difficult to take such a light-hearted approach.”

“For some who may rely on disabled lifts to get around in local places such as shopping centres, leisure centres, hospitals, care homes, or in Cherrylee’s case, a service station – it adds yet another obstacle put in the way of an easy and stress-free life.”

“Simpson Millar regularly acts for clients who have found themselves in similar situations – from those who have been physically injured from a jolt following a drop in a lift, to those who have suffered severe psychological trauma after being trapped in a small space.”

“The issue that needs to be addressed more widely is why disabled lifts keep breaking. Simpson Millar is committed to raising awareness of the needs of the most vulnerable, who should be able to live their lives as easily as anyone else without having to worry about getting trapped in tiny spaces.”

Written by Mel Burden

For more information on personal injury and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call

0808 129 3304

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