Accidents that happen to people when they are using escalators and elevators are not as widespread as accidents involving other modes of transportation, but there still are thousands of injury accidents each year and some fatalities. Even minor injuries result in pain and medical care, while serious injuries can result in amputations, traumatic brain injury or death of the victim.
California Escalator & Elevator Accident Attorney
Many of the same regulations that apply to public transportation like busses, airplanes and taxi cabs also apply to commercial escalators and elevators like you might find in a large retail store, office or apartment building. If you or a loved one has been injured while riding on an escalator or being transported in an elevator, an experienced California Escalator & Elevator Accident Attorney can help you obtain compensation for your Personal Injury damage claims. If you have been injured at your workplace, this attorney can help you with obtaining Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage or payment from your employer’s insurance company.
California Escalator & Elevator Accidents
Escalators and elevators are considered to be “common carrier” modes of transportation, similar to vehicles that carry passengers. They are included under California Civil Code Section 2100 – 2104, and are referenced as a carrier of persons for reward, similar to taxi cabs, busses, airplanes, trains and other machines that carry passengers commercially. Even though there rarely is a fee to use elevators or escalators, they are normally installed in commercial establishments. As common carriers, the owners and operators of escalators and elevators are required to exercise a reasonable standard of care duty to maintain and operate these devices safely so passengers are not harmed.
Escalator & Elevator – Accident Statistics
According to a report from Consumerwatch.com that statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these modes of travel are relatively safe. Elevators may involve greater risks due to the heights they obtain, but escalators also have risks to passengers, especially young children, who may get fingers, hands or feet caught in the mechanisms or moving steps. Elevators present the highest risk to workers who are installing or repairing them, or working near elevators.
It is estimated that about 900,000 elevators in the U.S. make 18 billion passenger trips each year. Each carries an average of 5 people per trip, serving 20,000 people yearly. The average elevator lift height is about 40 feet, equivalent to rising to 4 or 5 floors. About 27 people are killed yearly in elevator accidents, and around 10,200 are injured.
Most injury accidents involved door malfunctions or trip and fall accidents, and fatalities involved falls into the shaft or between the car and the shaft. About a quarter of all fatal accidents happened to people working on or near elevators; half the non-work fatalities occurred when people fell into apartment elevator shafts. Escalators carry millions of passengers yearly, and also have caused injury accidents and fatalities. Most accidents on escalators occur when a part malfunctions or a person gets somehow tangled in the machinery.
Escalator & Elevator Accidents – Injuries
Common injuries on both of these types of transportation are caused when a person is hurt by the mechanisms. Fatal accidents happen when people fall into the shaft or are caught between the device and a wall or shaft. The devices are mechanical, with many parts that could fail; passengers are not secured in place during travel and have little protection.
- Door Malfunction – person gets a body part trapped in the door as they try to stop it from closing. Injuries can include broken arm or leg bones, fractures.
- Trip and Fall – when the car is not level with the entry platform; elderly people are especially prone to this type of accident. Injuries include broken bones, fractures, facial injuries, head or brain injury.
- Shaft Fall – can result in severe injury or death; head, neck, spine injuries, crushing or amputation. A free fall when a cable breaks can easily cause death.
- Entrapment – clothing or body parts are trapped in mechanism or between moving steps, causing torn or crushed body parts or limb amputation.
- Small children are hurt when their hands or feet are trapped in moving equipment.
- Malfunction – sudden stops or reverse cause people to fall.
- Slip & Fall – people trip on the moving step as it rises or falls at either end of the run.
Personal Injury Compensation – Escalator & Elevator Accidents
If you seek compensation for escalator & elevator accidents, your attorney will need some basic information to build a case. Take time to collect evidence at the scene, if possible, and consult with your California Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible. There are time limits for making personal injury claims; your attorney will help ensure that you meet all deadlines.
- Basic Information – collect photos, witness contact information, police and medical reports, information about the location of the device.
- Negligence – establishing liability is the cornerstone of your personal injury claims. Your attorney will be able to help determine negligent behavior, such as poor maintenance or equipment failure.
- Fault – when there is mechanical failure, the injured person is rarely at fault. California is a pure comparative negligence state; if the injured party is partly responsible, the full award is reduced by the percent of fault attributed to that person.
Be extremely careful when you are near moving equipment or a transportation device such as an escalator or elevator. If you are working on these machines, your risk of injury or death is much higher than for the average user. Being aware of the potential hazards is the best way to avoid injury when using escalators or elevators. Never take chances or allow loose clothing, hair or hands to become entangled in moving parts. If you are injured or a loved one is killed on an escalator or elevator, get the legal advice and representation you need immediately. Contact an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney for best results.