Our Experienced Escalator Accident Attorneys Explain Some Important Things You Need To Know If You Were Injured in an Escalator Accident
Escalators are everywhere in New York City: malls, movie theaters, hotels, hospitals, even underground in subway stations. Escalators are complicated mechanical devices that require regular inspection, maintenance and repair. When this is not done, they can become dangerous. Here are some important things you need to know if you were involved in an escalator accident.
What Causes an Escalator To Malfunction?
There are many ways that a user can be injured on an escalator. For example, escalators can sometimes make an abrupt stop or change in speed. This can cause a user to lose their balance and fall. Sometimes, the moving steps themselves are damaged or misaligned, and this too can cause a user to fall. Regardless of how the accident happens however, escalator accidents are usually caused by poor inspection, maintenance and repair of the equipment.
Escalators are complicated mechanical devices that require regular inspection and maintenance. Building owners usually hire an independent escalator maintenance company to perform this type of work. These companies employ individuals who perform the work required under the terms of a maintenance agreement with the building owner. These maintenance agreements are not, however, all the same. In fact, it is important to always obtain a copy of the maintenance agreement in escalator accident litigation, to determine the scope of the work that was supposed to be performed by the maintenance company.
What Obligations Does An Owner Have To Maintain Escalators?
Similar to elevator and moving walkway maintenance, escalators in New York City are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Buildings (DOB). The DOB generally inspects elevators and escalators the same way: three category testing performed twice a year. A contracted inspection agency performs these tests. When an escalator passes these tests, the DOB considers the escalator safe to ride. However, even if the escalator is found safe to ride, building owners are still required under the law to have a maintenance contract with an approved maintenance company to perform “work, maintenance and replacement” of the device. If a building owner fails to satisfy these legal requirements, there can be serious consequences. In fact, an owner can be subject to civil penalties and criminal prosecution if the owner fails to address a DOB violation.
How Do You Prove an Escalator Accident Case?
To prove an escalator accident case you must show that the escalator was defective. This can be done by the testimony of witnesses, who either experienced the problem, or saw it happen. It is also necessary to introduce expert testimony to explain the actual mechanical reason that the device failed.
Additionally, many escalator accidents are captured on surveillance video. As a result, it is important to look around and determine whether there are any nearby video cameras that may have captured the accident.
In addition, your escalator accident attorneys will obtain certain important documents that are needed in escalator accident litigation, including:
- Maintenance and inspection records of the faulty escalator, including the names of the inspectors;
- All invoices and receipts from the property owners to the maintenance company;
- Relevant communication between the property owners and the maintenance company;
- A copy of the contract between the property owners and the maintenance company; and
- Copies of any reports, citations, violations or inspections prepared by the Department of Buildings.
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