On the surface, escalators seem completely harmless, chugging along at just a few miles per hour. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving. While escalators may move at a leisurely pace, they can still cause serious physical damage or even death when they are poorly designed, constructed, or maintained. These terrible physical injuries can lead to emotional trauma, and oftentimes, massive hospital bills place the survivor under even greater hardship.
If you or someone you love was hurt in an escalator accident, you may have a strong liability claim. Along with property owners and maintenance crews, escalator manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their equipment is safe for regular passenger use. When a faulty escalator leads to injury or death, the victim and his or her family may be entitled to financial compensation. The attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm can help you see that justice is done.
The Reiff Law Firm: Philadelphia Escalator Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to an escalator injury, it is absolutely critical to contact an experienced attorney so that an unbiased, comprehensive accident investigation can uncover how you were hurt. The experienced Pennsylvania premises liability attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have successfully represented tens of thousands of injury victims and their families since 1979. We have made multiple recoveries in excess of $1 million.
If you would like to speak confidentially with a personal injury lawyer, call The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.
10,000 Escalator Injuries Every Year
Every day in America, millions of people will travel on more than 34,000 escalators. Sadly, some of these people will suffer serious injuries or death in an escalator accident. Of course, the vast majority of escalators are perfectly safe. However, that still leaves many escalators which suffer from design defects, manufacturing defects, maintenance defects, and operational defects — all of which can be the cause of catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
Believe it or not, escalators are actually far more dangerous than elevators. To put it into perspective, accidents are 15 times more likely to occur on escalators than elevators. According to a 2013 report featured in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, roughly 10,000 Americans visit the Emergency Department with escalator injuries on an annual basis.
How Escalators Cause Injury and Death
Escalator design is often a major contributing factor to accidents, injury, and death. Common escalator accident causes include:
- Falling over handrails.
- Attempting to ride by sitting on handrails.
- Shoes, clothing, or garments becoming wedged in gaps of the moving escalator parts.
- Slip and fall.
- Lack of appropriate warning notices.
- Negligent escalator maintenance.
- Excessive acceleration and/or deceleration.
- Lack of emergency shut-off capabilities.
Most escalator injuries and deaths affect two demographics:
- Children aged 5 and younger.
- Senior citizens aged 65 and older.
Loose Safety Regulations
Today, escalators are manufactured under a set of voluntary standards and guidelines developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Consumer safety activists have petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for federal regulations aimed at addressing entrapment dangers of escalators.
Unlike Europe or China, where the government has taken active steps to improve escalator safety, U.S. federal and state codes do not address elevator deficiencies at all. This means that all too often, escalator accidents are quickly forgotten, and no reports are filed with state Departments of Public Safety.
Most local authorities do require annual public escalator inspections. However, there is no federal authority to regulate escalators as there is with airplanes, automobiles, and personal equipment. If an escalator is identified as having a design defect, the public does not learn about it because the manufacturer is only required to notify equipment owners.
Our attorneys feel that this lack of accountability is unjust — especially considering that over 75% of escalator accidents are the result of defects and malfunction. We will not let your suffering be “swept under the rug.” Our experienced escalator investigators and accident reconstructionists have been able to determine that accidents were caused by:
- Broken or missing steps.
- Missing teeth along the trackway.
- Loose or missing screws or bolts.
- Damaged comb plates.
- Wear defects.
- Electrical wiring issues.
- General malfunction.
If you or someone you love was hurt in an escalator accident, you may be able to recover compensation for all the physical, emotional, and financial suffering you and your family have been forced to endure. Call the Philadelphia escalator injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000 to arrange for a free, confidential case evaluation, or contact us online.