In New York, many people use public transportation every day. Part of many public transportation stops like subways are escalators – and they can and do malfunction.
A New York City councilwoman is demanding that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority repair an escalator at the 72 Street Q train station, one of the busiest stations in the city. The escalator has been out of commission for several months, presumably because the malfunctioning elevator would be a danger to those onboard if it were being used.
While no one was hurt on this escalator, it’s important to understand, in New York City and beyond, that escalator mishaps, accidents, and malfunctions do occur.
If you are injured by an accident on an escalator, what can you do? And what laws are there to protect you? Read on to find out more about escalator accidents in New York.
What Type of Escalator Accidents Occur?
Escalator accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Usually, however, they are the result of negligence by the owner of the property or the designer and manufacturer of the elevator. If the owner of the property on which the escalator malfunction takes place doesn’t routinely service or maintain the elevator properly, or there is a flaw on the part of the manufacturer or designer, then they may be liable for your injuries.
Several causes can lead to escalator injuries, such as:
- Broken handrails
- Loose screws
- Missing comb plates
- Negligence in product manufacturing
- Missing foot brushes
- Failure to properly maintain the escalator
- Design flaws
- Electrical malfunctions
- Rapid speed changes
- Sudden stops that cause falls
- Gaps between steps that are too wide
If any of these things are present and have led to your injury, then you need to make sure those who are liable for the condition of the escalator are held accountable.
What Type of Injuries Can Be Sustained?
Thousands of people are injured on escalators every single year in the United States according to the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Many of the injuries that are sustained on an escalator require medical care, and they include injuries such as:
- Crushed body parts
- Loss of toes or fingers
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
Who Is Responsible for Injuries?
If an escalator is on a property, then the owner of that property is responsible for ensuring that all escalators are maintained to be safe and functioning. That means that worn parts are to be replaced. Adjustments should be made so that things don’t get caught in the moving parts of the escalator – or so those riding it don’t trip, slip, or fall.
In New York, there are codes specifically regarding escalators and the fact that they must be inspected and passed when installed. They must also be inspected periodically to make sure they meet the safety standards set by the state.
If a property owner fails to do their duty, which is to provide those on the property with a safe escalator to use, then they can be found negligent and be responsible for injuries sustained on the escalator.
What If You’re Injured?
If you are injured in an escalator accident, then you must take certain steps to ensure your safety and health as well as to preserve the facts of the accident. You should collect any witness information you can – including their contact information – call the police to the scene to file a report, take pictures of the scene, and get medical treatment for your injuries.
Also, bringing an experienced attorney into the situation as soon as possible after an accident is a good idea. This can help ensure any evidence that is needed for your case is gathered for a personal injury claim. You may be able to have your medical bills covered, as well as other damages, by filing a lawsuit.
New York Statute of Limitations
It’s also vital to note that New York has a statute of limitations on these types of personal injury claims. You have four years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you will lose any right to file a lawsuit to help you get compensation for your injuries.
There are many laws that govern premises liability in New York. The only people qualified to understand the laws and handle personal injury cases are experienced attorneys. They are here to provide you with guidance on your case and to determine if you even have the evidence you need to file and win a case – to help you get compensation for your injuries.