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Types of Escalator Failures that can Lead to Personal Injury

Escalators may be taken for granted today, but in 1859 when they were first introduced as “revolving stairs,” they were considered an absolute marvel. In the century and a half that has followed they have become a common part of everyday life.  In the United States alone there are an estimated 35,000 escalators operating in public buildings, retail establishments, airports, hospitals and the like, making over 100 billion passenger trips per year through single and multi-floor buildings. Despite the fact that they are used so frequently, and we spend a little time thinking about them, escalator failures do happen and are responsible for many injuries. Sometimes these failures are caused by defects in the equipment and at other times they are a result of shoddy maintenance. When escalator injuries do occur, they can be quite serious. If you have been hurt as a result of an escalator failure, the experienced attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help.

Escalator failures happen for many reasons. In some cases, they are a result of loose or missing screws or broken or missing steps. Sometimes there is just a general malfunction and other times there is something specific that has gone wrong, such as the escalator track having missing or broken teeth or an excessive space opening up between the step area and the side walls of the conveyance. When these defects appear, they can lead to serious injuries, including:

  • Fingers getting stuck in spaces that are too large or in the handrail entry at the balustrade
  • Body parts, hair or clothing getting trapped between the comb plates or between steps
  • Slip and fall accidents, particularly at the entry or exit of the conveyance

In the worst instances, escalator failures can even lead to death. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 24 non-work related escalator deaths in the United States in the period between 1992 and 2003. In eight of these incidents, the death was a result of clothing getting caught at either the top or the bottom of the escalator or between the stair step and the escalator’s side wall. The other deaths were a result of falls, which are also responsible for 75 percent of all escalator injuries.

Despite the fact that escalators have become so common, there are still safety advocates who argue that it is their very design that leads to these accidents and deaths, though the units that have been manufactured since 2002 have been required to adhere to more stringent safety requirements than those that came before.

If you have been injured while riding on an escalator and you believe that an escalator failure was to blame, contact the experienced attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers for a free review of the details of your case. We will listen carefully and examine the specifics of your situation to determine whether the injury was a result of a design flaw, a failure to properly maintain the equipment or some other form of negligence. We are here to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.


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