Elevators and escalators provide a service to pedestrians and the handicapped in many different locations. They are located in shopping malls, retail stores, public transportation terminals, office buildings, entertainment venues and more. They should be subject to frequent inspections and maintenance and they generally are, however serious accidents still occur. In fact, approximately 17,000 injuries occur on elevators and escalators each year, in the U.S.
A person boarding an elevator or escalator expects that they will reach their floor and disembark without incident. And in most cases they do. However, there are often unrecognized hazards that can be potentially dangerous to riders that may go unrecognized until something horrible occurs. Escalators and elevators each have their own inherent dangers. These dangers are often, but not always, due to negligence of a third party such as the manufacturer, the maintenance company or the building owner or management company.
How Elevator and Escalator Accidents Happen
Some of the possible causes of injuries on escalators are:
- Sudden stops or starts – An escalator coming to an abrupt halt can cause a person to fall onto the steel steps.
- Loose or dangling apparel and accessories – Shoelaces, long pants cuffs, dresses, coats, hair, fingers, soft shoes (sneakers, flip flops, sandals) scarves and belts, as some examples, may get caught in steps or rails.
- Broken metal teeth – The teeth at the terminus of the escalator stairs, when broken, create wide gaps that can create a hazard.
- Machinery defects or disrepair – Improperly operating equipment may lead to injury.
- Lack of inspections – Regular inspections will reveal issues like loose steps, loose rails, improper speeds and other potential hazards.
- Improper maintenance – Outside maintenance companies may fail to recognize and repair conditions such as sudden acceleration, loose stairs, improper top and bottom step demarcation and other potentially dangerous issues.
Some of the possible causes of elevator injuries are:
- Sudden dropping of the elevator car – A sudden fall and jolting stop can cause injury to the occupants.
- Stopping short of the floor – An elevator that stops a few inches or a foot or more short of the floor can create a trip and fall hazard when the doors open.
- Defective elevator doors – Defective or missing door sensors can cause doors to close on persons entering, leaving or standing near the door in the car. This can result in serious injury or death.
- Assault with no working alarm – The alarm or “panic” button should always be functioning to alert others to a crime or a stuck car.
- Stress related heart attack or other adverse reaction to the elevator being stuck between floors.
- Improper inspection and maintenance – Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent all of the above situations from becoming reality.
Victims of an escalator or elevator accident may receive severe injuries including the loss of a limb, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, broken bones, extensive contusions, abrasions, neck and back problems. Some of these injuries may be life altering and debilitating. The injured person may never be able to work, at least in their chosen career. They may require extensive surgeries, years of rehabilitation and physical therapy. Anyone injured in an elevator or escalator accident should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
In the case of an escalator or elevator accident, it is imperative to determine whether one or more persons or groups were responsible for the injury. The building owner or management company is responsible for the safety of the occupants and visitors. There may also be contributable negligence on the part of the manufacturer, maintenance company or inspector. An injured party in an elevator or escalator accident may be able to file a lawsuit against one or more of these entities. The lawsuit may seek compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Dolman Law Group has successfully represented victims of elevator and escalator accident in the past. If you, or a loved one, suffered an injury on an escalator or elevator, reach out to Dolman Law Group today for a free, no obligation, evaluation of your case. Do not wait as statutes of limitation for filing these cases apply. Call us today at (727) 853-6275.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652