Elevator Accidents

Elevator and Escalator Injuries

Elevators and escalators are common in commercial, retail and residential properties, and generally, they make our lives easier every day. However, elevators and escalators can also be terrifyingly dangerous when they malfunction, and accidents may cause serious injuries and even fatalities. In many cases, those responsible for the manufacture, safety, and upkeep of elevators and escalators can be held responsible when elevator and escalator accidents do occur.

Frequency of Elevator and Escalator Accidents

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), elevator defects injure more than 10,000 people each year, and about 27 people are killed. The numbers go up for escalators. In fact, for every accident that occurs on an elevator, there will be 18 escalator accidents, with escalator-related injuries and deaths steadily rising every year since 1990.

Despite these numbers, when an elevator or escalator is identified by the manufacturer as having a defect, the manufacturer is only required to send out a certified letter to owners of the equipment. This means the public rarely finds out about potentially dangerous elevators and escalators until injuries and deaths have already occurred.

Types of Elevator Defects & Malfunctions

Elevators are subject to defect and malfunction in many ways, all of which can be dangerous to users:

  • Mechanical breakdowns or defects causing an elevator to drop suddenly
  • Pulley system malfunction causing an elevator to drop down the elevator shaft
  • Faulty doors creating the risk of fall or crushing
  • Faulty wiring or elevator control malfunction creating a risk of electrocution
  • Improper or incomplete repairs or maintenance
  • Inspections by unqualified or negligent personnel
  • Unbalanced leveling so the elevator does not line up with the floor
  • Entrapment due to malfunctioning doors, wiring, or heat from fire or water from emergency sprinklers or hoses
Types of Escalator Defects & Malfunctions

With their components and mechanics, escalators are especially dangerous if they are defective or not properly maintained. Defects that have caused escalator accidents include:

  • Loose or missing screws
  • Broken or missing steps
  • Too much space between the steps and the escalator sides
  • Missing teeth on the escalator track
  • General mechanical malfunction

Children and the elderly are most often affected by escalator defects. For example, children may get their fingers stuck if openings around the handrail conveyer are too large, and the elderly frequently slip and fall on escalators. Loose fitting shoes such as sandals have also been known to increase the risk of being injured by a defectively designed escalator.

Call on the Legal Team at KWFDM after an Elevator or Escalator Accident

If you or a loved has been seriously injured due to an elevator or escalator malfunction, please contact Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC at (404) 460-0101. Our Atlanta-based premises liability lawyers are prepared to help you win maximum compensation for your damages.

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