You don’t hear too many stories about injuries due to an elevator or escalator accident. However, elevator and escalator accidents are usually horrific and extremely severe.
When bloodcurdling screams came from an elevator in a Manhattan office building, witnesses found a man with a severed arm. The elevator fell onto the elevator technician’s arm, cutting it off at the elbow. He received surgery at Bellevue Hospital. EMTs brought his severed arm in behind him, carrying it from the scene in a big trash can.
Again, stories like this tend to be the norm in elevator and escalator accidents. More often than not, they are violent, gruesome – and may even cause death.
Just last month, a discount store employee in upper Manhattan died after a freight crushed him. While the victim was loading boxes into the elevator, it surged upward and flattened him against the ceiling without warning.
Labeled as a freak accident, authorities still do not know what caused the elevator malfunction. After a first look, investigators could not find a permit issued to that elevator. It also had no doors. Despite this, it had received no complaints from any of the employees who shared the building. Will a wrongful death lawsuit be forthcoming? Only time will tell.
What Causes Elevator and Escalator Accidents?
Even a “freak accident” can often be traced down to a malfunction or structural problem once the evidence is analyzed. And it’s vital that someone does this.
Finding the cause of these types of accidents is crucial for many reasons. One is to make sure that the victims and their families receive justice. Another is to hold the people responsible for injuries accountable.
Some of the most common reasons elevators and escalators cause accidents include:
- Busted Sensors – If a sensor on an elevator does not work, it can close too quickly – sometimes even closing on people trying to get in.
- Abrupt Stops – Did you know that when an escalator or elevator comes to an abrupt stop, your body keeps moving for a moment? In an elevator, this isn’t usually a big deal. You might suffer some bumps, but typically not much else. But if it happens on an escalator, it can result in a slip and fall and far more serious injuries.
- Mislevels – This is a very common cause of elevator injuries and lawsuits, especially in buildings built in the mid-1900s. When an elevator door opens and it is not level with the floor, it can often cause falls and other injuries.
- Technical Malfunctions – In the hustle and bustle of public transportation, a simple malfunction can affect a lot of commuters. In 2013, an ascending escalator at the Jersey City PATH station malfunctioned – it started to go down. Multiple people on the escalator panicked and jumped off. Five were injured, and though none of the injuries were life threatening, the incident forced the PATH station to shut down some of the escalators throughout the station.
Get Help Understanding the Complexities of Elevator and Escalator Injury Claims
If you’ve been injured in an elevator or escalator accident, you may be advised to file a lawsuit to pay for your damages – but who do you file the claim against?
Sometimes it is best to aim your claim at the manufacturer of the elevator or escalator. In other situations, it may be more appropriate to file a lawsuit under the rules of premises liability, asserting that the property owner is at fault.
Each personal injury case is unique, and injuries involving elevator and escalator accidents can involve all kinds of variables.
Don’t let the potential complexity of these types of cases keep you from fighting for your right to fair and just compensation for your injuries and losses. Instead, seek out an elevator and escalator accident attorney with a track record of success. He or she will be able to provide you with the guidance you need to cut through any confusion and get you the compensation you deserve so that you can concentrate on what’s most important – recovering.