Elevators and escalators are a common and everyday mode of transportation in multi-level buildings here in the United States. Millions travel on them every day but accidents do happen from time to time. If you or a family member have been injured in an elevator or escalator accident, call our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys for a free legal consultation.
Approximately 30 people are killed every year in elevator accidents. Some fall into the shaft when the doors open and they do not notice the elevator is not there. Others are trapped when a malfunction causes the doors to close notwithstanding a blocking body part and suffer amputations of arms or legs.
These accidents generally happen because of insufficient maintenance or inspection. A 2012 article written by Victor Fiorillo in Philadelphia Magazine found PA’s safety and inspection process for Philadelphia Elevators lacking. He had difficulty reaching the Elevator Inspection office in the Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety. And individuals interviewed expressed concerns that private contractors hired to do the twice a year inspection instead of the state were often negligent in the process.
There are about 10,000 escalator injuries and deaths a year in the United States. A significant number of which were caused by falls among young children and the elderly. The most likely age groups to be injured on an escalator are either the very young (kids five years old and under) or senior citizens (65 years and older).
The majority of adult men injured on escalators have head and neck injuries. The majority of women are treated for damage to their lower extremities. Among the more common types of injuries are falling over the handrail or entrapments that lead to the amputation of legs and toes.
The industry has not done nearly enough in terms of escalator construction, design and inspection in order to remedy the injuries that have been observed on them. Escalators are manufactured under voluntary standards developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Who can you sue for this type of accident?
An improper design or design defect may render them responsible for the incident.
Property Manager or Maintenance Company
These parties can be held responsible if they failed to maintain or inspect the item or component parts, failed to warn that it was not working properly, or failure to follow other laws and regulations governing elevator and escalator operation.
The Property Owner
The injured may also be able to sue the property under a theory of premises liability. This legal theory holds owners responsible for maintaining a safe environment for their guests. The owner of a property may owe different duties to invitees, licensees and trespassers under the law.