Common Injuries Seen on Escalators and Elevators

By Peter DePaolis

Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Victims of Elevator and Escalator Injuries throughout Washington, D.C.

In metropolitan areas, it is common to see escalators and elevators. Unfortunately, there are a variety of malfunctions that can lead to devastating injuries. The buildings that use these transportation options and the companies that manufactured or maintained them could be liable for any injury caused.

What Are the Common Accidents and Injuries Seen?

  • Sudden stops and rough landings. This is an elevator incident where the unit ends abruptly and forcefully. It can cause a person to thrash inside of the elevator cab, and cause back injuries, neck injuries, and falls. Elevators have software and programming that is designed to prevent this from occurring; therefore, inadequate maintenance of a malfunction in the software is likely the cause of injury.
  • Sudden drops from great heights. While this is rare, there are instances where an elevator will fall from a great height to the bottom of the shaft. When this happens, the passengers of the elevator are severely injured, and in some cases, a fatality might occur.
  • Clothing caught in an escalator belt. A common accident on escalators is when clothing or fingers are caught in the belt. Sometimes, a shoestring can be captured in the grate and cause an injury. Most escalator injuries involve foot and hand injuries, such as lacerations, amputations, and sprains.
  • Falls from an escalator. A fall from an escalator can occur when the unit stops abruptly, forcing a person to sway and fall the escalator.
  • Elevator doors closing on extremities. Elevator doors are supposed to re-open at the slightest bit of resistance on the doors. However, a malfunction could cause the door to close on a person’s leg, foot, hand, or arm and trap it until a service technician releases it. This could lead to crush injuries, broken bones, and even amputations in some instances.
  • Slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents occur on both elevators and escalators. If the surface leading to these areas is slippery, and the owner or manager of the building did not take reasonable steps to clean up the hazard, he or she could be held liable for the injuries.

Premises Liability and Escalator/Elevator Injuries

When you are injured on an escalator or elevator, it falls under premises liability. In these instances, your attorney would need to examine the evidence and determine which party or parties are responsible. Often, premises liability cases involving large commercial properties result in more than one defendant. Just some of the parties that might be considered responsible include:

  • Property Management – If there is a manager who oversees the condition of the property and handles or orders maintenance, his or her inability to maintain the systems could mean that the manager is at fault.
  • Property Owner – The law requires the property owner to provide a safe environment for all visitors to that property.
  • The Company that Manufactured the Unit – The manufacturer might be liable if it knew there was a defect or safety issue with the units, and yet failed to correct them or warn the public.
  • Company Responsible for Maintenance – If there is a corporation that maintains these units regularly and it failed to perform its duties, it could also be liable for the injuries.

Injured by an Escalator or Elevator? Contact an Attorney Immediately

Premises liability cases are extremely complex. Not only are multiple parties involved in these types of cases, but gathering evidence and pinpointing the cause of your injury is equally difficult. Therefore, it is in your best interest to schedule a free case evaluation with an premises liability attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP by contacting us online or calling one of our three office locations.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.