Escalator Accidents on the Rise
Escalators are a part of our everyday lives. We use them at stores, in office buildings and in airports to transport ourselves and our belongings between floors. A recent report by WPTV television station investigated the prevalence of injuries on Florida-area escalators. The investigation found that the Palm Beach International Airport was ranked third, behind Miami International Airport and Southwest Florida International Airport in the number of escalator accidents statewide, with 159 documented incidents since 2008. While luggage and strollers often contribute to occurrences within the airport, generally, escalator accidents may result from a variety of causes.
According to Safety and Research Strategies, Inc., there are about 30,000 escalators operating within the United States. Though this number is far fewer than the number of working elevators, escalator accidents are about 15 times more likely to occur. Recent reports of bodily entrapment injury causing falls call attention to this growing problem. Recently, a toddler reportedly lost two fingers after his hand became lodged in an Oregon escalator. Another case was recently settled regarding the fatality of an elderly woman who was asphyxiated when her clothing was caught in the moving parts of an escalator. While these incidents are at the severe end of the spectrum, less serious falls and injuries are a daily occurrence, reportedly sending more than 10,000 people to emergency rooms each year.
Possible Causes of Escalator Injuries
Passengers wearing inappropriate footwear– One popular shoe company has reportedly faced numerous lawsuits since 2008 regarding the alleged danger of wearing their shoes on an escalator.
- Balance and coordination issues by the elderly or disabled.
- Escalator misuse resulting in a fall over the handrail – This may include passenger attempts to slide down the handrail or jump from one platform to the next. Passenger intoxication can also contribute to these accidents.
- Entrapment of clothing or accessories.
- Negligent operation of the escalator.
Who is to Blame
In the case of negligent operation, escalator accidents sometimes occur due to no fault of the passenger. Property owners are under a duty to maintain their premises in an adequate condition. This is especially relevant to businesses that invite the public into their establishments and onto their escalators. When these incidents occur, an experienced lawyer will look at the entirety of circumstances to determine the cause of the accident and whether there are any liable parties. Along with the business owner, the building owner may also bear some responsibility if the premises are leased. Another possibility arises if the escalator is regularly managed by a maintenance company. If a malfunction occurred due to their negligence, a court may order compensation for the victim.
Any of these possibilities require proper presentation to the court, with adequate evidence to support the assertion. This task can become challenging, especially for a family that is dealing with the injury of a loved one.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator accident, contact the legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado in Miami for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.