Escalator Injuries and Deaths: A Premise Liability Case

Feb 20, 2017 by

Accidents occurring on escalators have been far more frequent compared to elevator-related accidents for the past twenty five years. Each year, close to ten percent escalator-related accidents are added to the 4,900 yearly incidences reported in the 1990s. In 2000, the number of accidents resulting to injuries and deaths jumped to more than 10,100 and, by the end of 2013, the number climbed to 12,260. Children, aged 14 and under, and senior citizens, at least 65 years old, are the ones who most commonly get involved in escalator accidents.

Falls is first in the list of escalator-related injuries and deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the branch of the U.S. Federal government that protects American consumers and families from products that pose fire, chemical, electrical, or mechanical hazards.
From 1985 to 1999, 21 out of the 27 escalator-related deaths were due to falls.

Falls can either be “falls on” or “falls from” escalators. “Falls from,” also called “falls over-the-side,” involves a person falling outside of an escalator into an adjacent open space, while “falls on” or “falls down” involves a person who remains inside an elevator wellway as he/she falls.

Despite the many incidences of injuries and deaths due to escalator accidents, escalator hazards, which the escalator industry has known for decades and which they can easily correct through safer designs, have often been obscured even in litigations. This is because of the overwhelming success of the escalator industry in convincing both the media and accident investigators that accidents, especially falls, are due to intoxication, horseplay, and gross misuse.

It is important for the public to know that premises owners and manufacturers of elevators and escalators have contracts which require provision of continuous support and maintenance services, including annual inspection after initial installation. It is also important to note that, rather than horseplay, intoxication or grave misuse, the dangerous conditions which often lead to escalator accidents are maintenance related or failure by the manufacturer to retrofit readily available safety devices – a failure premises owners choose to overlook. These are actually nothing short of acts of negligence, the basis of many premises liability litigations and claims.

The Ali Mokaram law firm says that anyone who gets injured in an escalator accident should never hesitate pursuing legal action against the liable party to seek compensation for their injuries. Compensatory damages are designed to help the injured pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.

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