As we go about our daily activities, we seldom give much thought to stepping onto an escalator or elevator. These devices are so common that they’ve become a way of life, especially in large cities. Although we assume them to be safe, accidents do occur. Over 17,000 people are injured each year by elevator and escalator accidents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, about 30 people are killed each year in such accidents. Understanding your rights as an accident victim will help secure the compensation you need to get your life moving again.
It’s important to remember that while escalators and elevators seem pretty mundane, they are actually complex pieces of machinery. There are numerous moving parts that have to be maintained in order to keep them in safe operation. Poor maintenance, malfunctioning parts, and negligence on the part of business owners and operators of the devices may cause accidents. These risks are higher for children, the elderly, and those who have trouble with mobility.
Some of the specific causes of injuries from elevator and escalator accidents include the following:
- Defective design or manufacture of the device or parts of the device
- Missing sections of the escalator track
- Clothing and shoes becoming caught where the stairs end
- Broken or missing steps
- Loose or missing screws and otherwise poor maintenance
On the other hand, elevator accidents can be due to any number of factors, such as:
- Door closure malfunctions, including door sensor failure
- Sudden drops or landings
- Entrapment inside the elevator
- Floor shifts in the elevator
- Elevator falls due to brake or cable failure
- The elevator is not level with the floor when it opens, causing passengers to trip upon exiting
Injuries caused by elevator and escalator accidents and can be severe and require immediate medical attention. But even a simple trip can result in relatively significant problems for the victim. Among the types of injuries that Georgia premises liability attorneys see are:
- Dislocated joints
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and abrasions
These devices are subject to rigorous inspections and regulations and must be kept up to code. But that doesn’t always prevent a serious accident. For this reason, Georgia law recognizes the dangers that can result from poorly built or maintained escalators and elevators. Property owners with these devices on their premises owe riders and users a duty of care. Negligence, therefore, is almost always the causes of accidents.
Failing to conduct regular inspections, respond to safety issues, or take devices out of service can put riders at risk. In order to establish liability for your accident, an attorney will typically work to obtain the following information:
- Maintenance and inspection records
- Any records of rider complaints or known safety issues
- Records indicating whether the escalator or elevator complies with applicable codes
- Testimony or evidence from witnesses
- Victim statements and medical records
If you’ve been hurt, the first thing to do is seek necessary medical attention. Keep all of your records and bills documenting your injuries, treatments, prescribed medications, and, of course, costs and expenses. Make notes of what exactly happened, providing as much detail – including time and date – as possible. Lastly, try to get the names and contact information of witnesses who may help substantiate your claims later.
CONTACT A GEORGIA PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR ESCALATOR OR ELEVATOR ACCIDENT
Elevator and escalator accidents can occur anywhere and without warning. Severe damages, even death, can result. At Schneider Hammers, we have helped victims of failed elevator and escalator accidents recover hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you or a loved one have been involved in one of these accidents, contact the team at Schneider Hammers. They will investigate your claims, help gather evidence, and work to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.