Escalator Accidents

Escalator Accident Attorneys in Chicago

Escalators are simply seen as convenient and effortless transportation up and down stories or as a fast way from point A to point B. Despite this, accidents occur every year that prove just how dangerous they can really be. The National Library of Medicine reports that 10,000 injuries each year are related to escalator accidents. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does not regulate escalators as they do to other large machines, such as cars. This leaves some space open to chance for accidents to occur. People get seriously injured and it is often due to negligence or oversight of maintenance, inspection, or properly functioning components. But, we are here to help you get justice and compensation for your escalator accident.

At Agruss Law Firm, LLC, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.

Causes of Escalator Accidents

Escalator accidents can cause some serious injuries such as head, neck, or back injuries, lacerations, broken bones, entanglement, burn injuries, and crushing injuries. These injuries may require extensive hospitalization or surgery. After the injury, it could take months to recover or it may even cause a permanent shift in one’s daily life and lifestyle.

Escalator accidents can occur in the blink of an eye and be very frightening. Most are due to defective components or poor or absent proper maintenance and inspection causing some type of malfunction. But specifically, some of the most common causes of escalator accidents include the following:

  • Broken or missing steps – This can end terribly with a serious trip and fall or entrapment injuries if someone anticipates a step but fails to see that one is broken or missing.
  • Missing comb plates – The metal teeth on the escalator are referred to as comb plates. When they are loose or missing, they can cause someone to trip and 
  • Slip and falls or trip and falls – Substances that make the ground slick can cause a slip and fall on the escalator, while objects obstructing the walkway or landing could cause a rough fall. The consequences of these injuries could be disastrous with a tall escalator.
  • Electrical or circuit failures – The electrical circuits that run the escalator could malfunction and start a fire or spark up, thus causing varying degrees of burn injuries.
  • Sudden stops or reversals – Sudden shifts in the escalator’s movement can startle a person and force them to fall and injure themselves.
  • Inadequate or absent handrails – Handrails are needed as a safety measure for its users to hold on to if they lose their balance. When they are absent or faulty, they prove no use and can cause serious injury.

Who Is Liable?

These escalator accidents are often the product of negligence on some party’s part. In order to find the negligent party in these cases, the plaintiff should be able to prove the four elements of negligence. First, you must prove that a duty of care existed between you and the defendant. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached, which is typically clear if you can establish the cause of the accident with our help. You must also prove that their actions or inactions were the only, direct cause of your injuries. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you suffered real damages and injuries.

Depending on the cause of the accident, there are a few likely defendants in these cases: the property owner where the escalator is located, the company that manufactured or sold the escalator, or the company/party responsible for maintaining and inspecting the escalator.

If the accident was due to negligence on the property owner’s part, then you could file a premises liability claim. These claims are generally for cases when there is a hazardous or unsafe condition on someone else’s property that caused the accident (and thus, your injuries). So, if the property owner was in charge of the condition that caused the accident (for instance, if they were responsible for inspecting the escalator and they failed to do so), then they would be liable for your injuries.

On the other hand, if the accident was due to a defect in the escalator, it would be a product liability claim. Product liability is a legal doctrine that refers to a manufacturer or vendor’s liability when they release a defective product to consumers. So if a component of the escalator had a design or manufacturing defect, then the manufacturer, vendor, or other actor in the chain of distribution may be held liable for your injuries.

Generally, if the accident was due to poor or absent adequate maintenance of inspection, the party that is responsible for the escalator’s maintenance would be liable in a personal injury claim. This may be a third party company or the property owner. The key in all of these types of accidents is the ability to prove that the reason that you believe that the accident occurred is the actual reason that it occurred; and this can be proven with our help in establishing the facts of the case.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

An escalator accident can take a physical, mental, and financial toll on the victims. Particularly severe accidents, such as an elevator collapsing down the shaft, can even cause extensive hospitalization, serious surgery, and even death. This is extremely tragic and difficult to deal with, but with the help of our experienced attorneys, we can assist you in recovering some monetary damages as a result. Some common damages that you can recover after a successful claim include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.

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