When a machine has been around awhile, it becomes easy to take it for granted. Very few people seem to take the stairs if there’s an elevator, and the escalator is a welcome sight when you walk into the airport after a long flight or exit the mall after a serious day of shopping. In fact, in the U.S. alone, there are approximately 900,000 elevators and 35,000 escalators. Each elevator carries about 20,000 people each year, while each escalator moves about 3,000,000 people annually. Traveling billions of miles each year, it’s no wonder that accidents involving these machines happen frequently.

If you have been injured in an elevator or escalator accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. Pikeville KY elevator accident lawyer Billy Johnson is a proven advocate with over 15 years of experience who has made it his life’s work to help injured people throughout Kentucky. Get started today with a free, no-obligation case review by calling 1-855-433-7532. You can also fill out this online form to discuss the details of your accident and find out your rights.

Combined, elevators and escalators kill approximately 30 people each year in the United States, and seriously injure 17,000. Elevators are the more dangerous of the two, with about 90 percent of the deaths and 60 percent of the injuries attributed to them. Elevators, like any other contraption, don’t always work the way they should, and some simply aren’t as properly or regularly maintained as is necessary for something with so much traffic. Common elevator defects or malfunctions include:

  • Rapid drops or sudden stops due to power loss, faulty pulleys, mechanical breakdown, etc.
  • Stalling above the landing and leaving the elevator shaft exposed when the doors open
  • Failure to align with the landing (misleveling)
  • Moving before the doors close
  • Sensors not detecting people in doors
  • Doors not opening.

Unexpected stops or free-falls can cause passengers to be violently thrown about. Open shafts can lead to severe, even fatal, falls. People can easily trip or fall when elevators that aren’t lined up with the landing, resulting in hip, knee, foot, and spinal injuries. Closing doors can cause serious crushing injuries, while those that don’t open have led to fatal confinements.

While the government is diligent about enforcing and reporting annual public elevator inspections at the city and state levels, elevators and elevator parts are not part of federal recalls, nor is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) authorized to regulate the machines as it does for automobiles and many other devices. This makes it almost impossible to get the word out about potential manufacturer defects. Similarly, escalator manufacturers are required to send out a letter to equipment owners only if one of their products has a design flaw. Reports of fatalities and injuries, as well as personal experience, are how the general public tends to learn of any problems.

Escalator injuries having to do with body parts (often fingers or hair) or pieces of clothing getting stuck in the moving components tend to get a lot of news coverage because they usually involve children. Known as “entrapment,” many of these accidents involve shoes with small heels, with loose fitting soles, or made of soft plastic. Another common injury are falls on or over an escalator. Misuse can’t be overlooked as a cause, as many issues arise from kids messing around, attempting to jump from one level to another, or ride the handrail. However, many falls over the handrails are the result of someone simply leaning against them. The handrails on escalators may be lower than standard guardrails and are often higher at the ends than at the middle, making it very easy for an adult to lose balance and topple over the side or for a child in an adult’s arms to fall over the side. Escalator injuries also stem from missing or broken steps, missing teeth on the track, abrupt stops, and sudden reversal of direction.

To be successful, elevator or escalator negligence claims have to establish that it was the defendant’s responsibility to operate or maintain the machine, that the defendant knew or should have known of the problem, and that the defendant failed to reasonably act. There are many possible parties these actions can be brought against, such as property owners, property management companies, retail stores, maintenance companies, manufacturers, distributors, and inspectors.

At the Johnson Law Firm, our Pikeville escalator accident attorneys handle personal injury cases in Eastern Kentucky and statewide. Our founder, Billy Johnson, has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer and he is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident, because any delay can cause critical evidence to be lost. You need your own investigative team working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim. To get our team started right away, contact us today by filling out this evaluation form or calling us at 1-855-433-7532.