Elevator and escalator injuries are a little-known hazard in the U.S. The threat to worker safety around elevators and escalators prompted past studies by the Centers for Disease Control, which recommended ways to prevent accidents in the workplace. If you have been hurt, as a worker or consumer, you may be able to get legal compensation to help you recover.
How Can I Be Hurt on an Elevator or Escalator?
Elevators and escalators are complicated mechanical and electrical systems that are subject to heavy use by pedestrians. When they fail, the results may be devastating. Elevator accident statistics going back to 1992 revealed falls are often the cause of injury, but elevator injuries can result from many scenarios including:
- Rapid drop due to pulley malfunction
- Open shaft or failure of the open doors to line up with the floor
- Electrocution, heat or water damage from faulty wiring
- Forced enclosure due to failure of doors to open
Similarly, escalator injuries are the result of many causes, including:
- Broken teeth, missing screws, broken steps
- Electrical malfunction
Severe trauma from an escalator accident is often the result of entrapment, where a finger or piece of clothing is caught between the steps. The CDC found that workers who suffered injury fell into an elevator shaft or were caught between moving parts.
What Are My Legal Options?
A premises liability lawyer can help establish if the owner or operator of the elevator or escalator did not keep the apparatus safe. This could include failure to repair or maintain the machinery. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner, the operator, the manufacturer or another party that did not uphold their responsibility to you as a user of the elevator or escalator.
What If I Am Partly to Blame?
Although a National Institutes of Health study found that intoxication is a risk factor for injury on an escalator, that alone does not absolve the owner or operator. If the failure to repair or maintain the machinery still contributed to your injuries, you can recover money through a lawsuit, even if you were partly at fault. In these cases, liability may be apportioned, which means the amount of money you might get is less than if you had not contributed to the accident.
How Do I File a Legal Claim?
The success of your lawsuit depends on technical details such as maintenance records. It is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to start putting together relevant evidence.