Have You Been Involved in An Escalator or Elevator Accident?
Escalators and elevators are relatively safe, but they do malfunction. Accidents also happen that can make normally safe equipment a death trap. For instance, a shoelace may get trapped under the steps in an escalator or someone may slip and fall while leaving an elevator. When an elevator or escalator accident happens, you may find yourself facing large medical bills or you may miss paychecks.
If the accident resulted from the negligence of the property managers or building owners, you may become eligible for compensation. An experienced attorney can review your case and determine what your options are under local personal injury laws.
What Is an Escalator Accident?
Any type of accident that occurs in relation to an escalator can be classified as an escalator accident. When it comes to personal injury law, it may specifically speak to instances where the individual suffered escalator-related injuries due to the negligence of another responsible party. These are some of the escalator injuries people commonly sustain:
- Head or brain trauma
- Soft tissue injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
What Are Types of Escalator Accidents?
Escalator accidents can happen in a number of ways. Personal injury cases tend to specifically tackle instances where the escalator was poorly designed or it malfunctioned. Here are the six main types of accidents that may take place on an escalator:
Escalators are moving staircases, so it makes sense that slipping, tripping and falling accounts for the majority of cases. Unfortunately, most escalator falls result from improper use. Courts know this and may view fall cases with some skepticism. However, property managers may become liable if the fall resulted from an escalator malfunction or slippery stairs.
2. Broken or Missing Steps
If steps cave in or disappear, people can suffer severe blunt trauma or even death. Newer models of escalators are designed to prevent this from happening, but they reduce rather than eliminate the risk. To add to this, older escalators may not be updated. When steps are not properly aligned, the protruding metal may also create tripping hazards.
3. Comb-Plate Entrapments
Comb plates exist at both the top and bottom of the escalator. When comb plates become faulty or go missing, it raises the risk of a foot or article of clothing getting stuck in the escalator. In these instances, disfigurement and dismemberment are not uncommon. Even when there are no physical injuries, the comb plate could remove someone’s clothes.
4. Side-of-Step Entrapments
There is a small space between the step of the escalator and the side or skirt of the escalator system. Body parts and clothing may get trapped in this space and cause severe injuries. This may happen when someone stands very close to the side of the escalator. If a scarf gets stuck in this space, the person could potentially choke to death.
5. Handrail Entrapments
When riding an escalator, you may see signs encouraging people to hold on to the handrails. As already illustrated, standing too close to the side may become dangerous because of the side-of-step section. However, handrails may also create risks. It is possible for clothing, jewelry or body parts to get stuck between the handrail and its guide.
6. Miscellaneous Malfunctions
There are several other types of malfunctions that do not fit neatly into any one category that may also cause injuries. For instance, there have been cases where the escalator suddenly stopped or it began to move in the opposite direction. The movement itself may cause injuries and so can the panic that is likely to follow.
What Are Some Common Types of Elevator Accidents?
Elevator accidents are a separate type of accident, but one closely related to escalator accidents. Both types of accidents involve the use of equipment that automates traveling up and down building floors. Because of this, an attorney experienced with handling one type of case usually has the qualifications necessary to take on the other. These are the most common types of elevator cases that may lead to a successful elevator accident lawsuit settlement:
- Trip and fall accidents
- Sudden falls from one floor to the next or all the way to the bottom
- Clothing entrapments when doors close too early
- Elevator entrapments when doors do not open
How Can People Injured in Elevator or Escalator Accidents Pursue a Settlement?
Whether you were involved in an escalator or elevator accident, the process is virtually the same. However, the specifics of the case can make a difference. Because of this, only an experienced attorney who is working on your case can advise you on how to proceed. These are general steps you may follow:
1. Get Medical Attention
When you make a personal injury claim, medical records can make all the difference. Seek medical attention as soon as possible or the court may hold the property manager liable for the original injury but not the complications that result from it.
2. Request Video Footage
An experienced attorney may seek a copy of any visual evidence of the accident. This can include shots from not just CCTV but passers-by. The footage may help you recall what took place and ensures your account lines up.
3. Determine Fault
Your attorney may need to determine if the accident occurred because of the negligence of property management or business owners. If the elevator or escalator malfunctioned, owners may become liable.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
Your attorney may then begin the negotiation process on your behalf. Ideally, you receive a fair settlement offer. If not, you may need to consider taking legal action to let a court decide whether you should receive a settlement and how much compensation your escalator or elevator injuries deserve.
Should You Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer?
There are no good reasons to jeopardize a personal injury case by working with an attorney who is not qualified or experienced. Improve your chances of securing a high compensation by working with someone who knows the ins and outs of elevator and escalator accident cases.