Many people use escalators at the airport, mall, or hotels. Although they are designed to make it easier for people to travel between floors, many escalators malfunction due to improper repairs or negligence. In fact, thousands of people are seriously injured on escalators each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
At Earnhart Law, we can help injured victims hold stores accountable when their escalators injure our clients. Contact a Delray Beach premises liability attorney today.
Common Accidents & Injuries
The most common accident involves a person losing their balance and falling down the escalator. They can hurt themselves as they strike each step on the way down. Others on the escalator can also be struck and fall.
Traumatic injuries include bruises, fractures, nerve damage, and concussions. A person could also suffer a back injury, including a ruptured disc, cracked rib, or back strain. In particularly horrifying accidents, a person can suffer a spinal injury, possibly resulting in paralysis.
In other accidents, a person gets a foot, hand, or piece of clothing caught in the side of the escalator as it is running. Unless the escalator is immediately shut off, they can suffer serious injury, including an avulsion where skin and soft tissue separate from the bone.
What Causes Escalator Accidents?
A properly designed and maintained escalator should work without a hitch. Nevertheless, many escalators are improperly repaired, or the store owner fails to properly warn customers when the escalator is not working properly.
Some of the more common problems with escalators include:
- Missing screws
- Missing teeth on the escalator belt
- Broken steps
- Electrical problems leading to a “jolt”
- Gaps between the steps and the side of the escalator
These problems can cause a person to lose their footing and fall. In other cases, shoelaces, shoes, or limbs can get wedged into open areas as the side of the escalator.
Suing for Compensation
Many of our clients are eligible for compensation when injured on an escalator. The first step will be determining who has responsibility for the escalator. In a shopping mall, for example, an individual tenant could be in control or the owner of the shopping plaza could be. On government property, the government agency who controls the building is often responsible.
Second, we need to determine what caused the accident. If you misplaced your foot or were running up and down an escalator, then you might be to blame. You cannot sue someone else for your own careless conduct. However, other accidents stem from improper maintenance or letting an escalator fall into disrepair. If so, then the escalator’s owner could be responsible to anyone injured because they did not use proper care to keep their premises safe for visitors.
In a few cases, a defect in how the escalator was designed, manufactured, or installed could be the source of your accident. The manufacturer or an installation company could bear ultimate responsibility.
Contact Earnhart Law Today
After a tumble down an escalator, you might quickly hear from the business hoping to settle. Instead of immediately agreeing, please contact our law firm today. Our Delray Beach premises liability attorneys will help you better understand your rights if you call us at 561-265-2220.