Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Escalator and elevator accidents can prove traumatic for users and workers who incur injuries inside, when walking in, or stepping out. They commonly occur due to negligence regarding inspection, repair, and maintenance.
Some people incur amputations, internal bleeding, crush injuries, and death. You have a legal right to file lawsuits and receive compensation for escalator and elevator accident injuries.
First, you’ll need a reputable elevator and escalator accident lawyer to present and negotiate fair payment for the damages.
How Common are Accidents on Elevators?
Elevator accidents seem rare but are pretty common in the United States. About 17,000 individuals get seriously injured, and 30 die annually because of the elevator and escalator-related accidents. Elevator-related accidents result in approximately 60% of serious injuries and 90% of deaths.
Workers installing, maintaining, and repairing escalators and elevators are usually the victims whenever accidents occur where some of these individuals fall into the elevator shaft. Elevator accident victims can also get these injuries or be killed while moving escalators or elevator parts. It will be easier for them to receive compensation with the help of an elevator and escalator accident attorney.
How Do Accidents on Elevators and Escalators Happen?
Escalators and elevators have several moving parts that require regular care and maintenance. When neglected, they can cause fatal injuries and deaths. Here are some common causes of these accidents.
Elevator doors can close prematurely when the sensor malfunctions. This issue can occur anytime, injuring cleaners and other users. Some also get trapped inside for long hours.
Miss-leveling is a common cause of these accidents. Elevators have to stop level with the floor. If they fail, users can easily trip and get injured from a fall.
Elevators move steadily to keep everyone safe. But, the mechanics and control panels may fail, increasing the speed to an unsafe level that throws people off-balance and make them hit the elevator walls. As a result, some suffer broken bones, spinal cords, and head injuries.
When the elevator wiring system is faulty, it causes a malfunction, producing electric shorts that harm passengers. This problem usually occurs when the wiring is not properly maintained, leading to a dangerous environment for the passengers. Personal injury lawyers know how to determine and prove the faults that led to the incident.
Falls in Elevator Shafts
Unsuspecting passengers and workers can fall into open elevator shafts if the building owners don’t follow proper maintenance schedules. This issue can also occur when unqualified technicians do the repairs.
Repair and Maintenance Failures
If a building owner fails to schedule a routine elevator repair and maintenance, it can malfunction anytime. It can easily get stuck and trap passengers inside, resulting in asphyxiation.
Federal, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ordinances and states dictate when and how elevator inspections should happen in every city, including those in Hartford County such as Simsbury and Glastonbury.
I Was in an Escalator Accident. Can I File a Lawsuit?
Once you get involved in an escalator accident, you need to design a comprehensive plan to claim compensation. This plan should primarily focus on ascertaining the burden of proof by determining liability.
An elevator injury attorney determines whether the incident falls under premises liability law. The initial litigation phase involves assigning fault to property owners who didn’t fulfill safety codes dictated in the federal elevator standards.
For private firms, property managers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for clients and workers. That included regular inspections, repair, and maintenance of escalators. They should also train employees to use the elevators properly.
Attorneys can also hold the following people liable for any injuries incurred after an accident:
- Manufacturers, distributors, or parts suppliers. They’ll be obligated to offer compensation when accidents occur because of design flaws or faulty machinery that makes the elevator dangerous to workers and users. For example, if the suppliers and distributors didn’t mention these faults when marketing, they also remain liable for the incident.
- Inspectors. If the elevator inspector failed to spot a mechanical problem that needed timely rectification.
- Maintenance companies. You could sue these companies for negligence if the escalator failed because improper maintenance activities gradually made elevator parts faulty.
- Builders. If the escalator failed because the installer did a poor job.
Negligence proof can come from causation, damages, and breach of duty. So, here are some of the injuries that can be compensated for when these accidents happen:
- Fractures and broken bones. These injuries can come from falls or crushes by the elevator door. Bone fractures can be mild or catastrophic. They can be medically rectified but may take a while to heal completely. Sometimes, broken bones cause joint infections.
- Neurovascular injuries. This damages the primary blood vessels feeding the spinal cord, brain, and brainstem. They can also come from getting crushed by the elevator door.
- Dislocations. Bones in fingers and shoulders tend to slip from the joint when knocked on the floor during a fall.
- Compartment syndrome. These injuries usually come from fractures. They cause bleeding and swelling in body parts with ‘compartment walls’ such as arms, abdomen, and legs.
The injuries you suffer don’t necessarily mean you will receive compensation. You must prove that they exist, so always go for medical treatments and preserve the documentation as evidence.
Some injuries, such as concussions, can only be spotted after thorough medical examinations. Therefore, your examiner should describe the extent of the injuries. With this description, you can negotiate for comprehensive damage compensation.
If you can access the security camera footage of the incident, you’ll prove the cause of the accident. For example, it can show the speed of the elevator door, uneven leveling, and falls in the shaft.
What To Do If You Have Been Injured on an Elevator
When you get injured in an elevator accident, a legal representative determines the responsible party and gets evidence for a solid lawsuit. You can help by recording a police statement and providing medical treatment documents. Here are some steps to take:
Step 1: Call 911
Since these accidents are an emergency, you’ll need a faster response from the police. Plus, some organizations may try to hide negligence evidence if premises liabilities caused the accident. The police will write a report describing the scene, and you can request a copy when filing a lawsuit.
They may also come with medical emergency assistance, which can help control further injuries.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Videos and photos of the scene are perfect evidence that can help you prove negligence. You need to record viable footage, such as the condition of the elevator door and warning signs for an open shaft. For example, if the property owner didn’t display warning signs for an open shaft and people fall inside, your photos and videos will be adequate proof of premises liability.
You can also request contacts from witnesses for their statements in the future. Get as much contact information as possible to ensure you have options even if others back out.
Step 3: Go for a Thorough Medical Examination
An emergency medical response usually performs first aid measures to reduce bleeding and organize the transfer of severely injured patients to the hospital. Even if your injuries aren’t visible, visit your doctor for a thorough medical examination.
Ensure you collect a copy of every medical document related to your injuries. X-ray reports come in handy when you need proof of the extent of the damages.
Step 4: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
All the evidence gathered may only be helpful if you have legal representation. A personal injury attorney understands all the tricks insurance companies employ, so hire a reputable one to be safer.
Connecticut Personal Injury Law Firm
The legal experts at our Connecticut personal injury law firm have years of experience in premises liability. Whoever is responsible for the incident, we hold them accountable. Contact us today for quality services.