Elevator & Escalator Accidents
Each day, we rely on elevators and escalators to get from floor to floor in office buildings, libraries, parking garages, retail stores, and other highly frequented areas. Most times you use these without any issues. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 27 people are killed in elevator accidents each year, though over 10,000 are injured. Thousands more are affected by escalator incidents.
Common Elevator Defects and Malfunctions
Elevators must be properly installed, repaired, maintained, and inspected, and the laws surrounding elevators are complex. In Illinois, contractors and companies must be licensed to work on elevators throughout the state, abiding by industry standards and recommended practices. A handyman or maintenance worker who does not have the right experience or licensure to repair or maintain elevators can leave you injured. Some common elevator malfunctions and issues include:
- Elevator door malfunction
- Carriage misalignment with floors
- Pulley system malfunction
- Mechanical breakdown
- Wiring malfunction
- Faulty wiring
- Failure or inadequate preventive maintenance, repairs, or inspections
- Unqualified personnel servicing, maintaining, repairing, or inspecting elevators
- Improper design
Common Escalator Defects and Malfunctions
Escalators can cause significant injury if parts or equipment are not properly affixed or installed. Sudden movement, such as stopping or starting, can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Entrapment can occur if you get caught along the side walls or while trying to get off the escalator, and can leave you with cuts, broken bones, or other serious injuries.
- Improper installation
- Sudden stops or starts
- Missing or loose parts
- Inadequate preventive maintenance, repairs, or inspections
- Side entrapment after getting caught on a moving part
- End-plate entrapment
Children are frequently injured in escalator accidents because they have a hard time holding onto railings. Elevator and escalators can serious injury and bodily harm, including electrocution, broken bones, cuts, muscle and soft tissue injuries, and brain injuries.
Establishing Liability in Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Escalator and elevator accidents fall under Illinois’ premises liability law. In order to establish that there was a party liable for your injury due to negligence, we must establish the following:
- The property owner or a responsible party owed you a duty of reasonable care,
- The property owner or responsible party breached this duty through either careless action or careless inaction,
- There was an injury to you proximately caused by this breach, and
- You have suffered damages from this injury.
Property owners have a legal responsibility to make sure that elevators and escalators are in full operating condition and safe for use. Regular inspections must be conducted, and if there are any issues with the inspection, the property owner must alert a contractor licensed by the State of Illinois to perform maintenance.
However, there are other potentially liable parties in escalator and elevator accidents.
- Repair and maintenance contractors may be held liable if there are shortcomings or inadequacies in the maintenance performed on the escalator or elevator.
- Inspection companies can be held liable if they approve an escalator or elevator for use when it should not be, and for other types of inspection-related concerns.
- Equipment or parts manufacturers may be responsible for your injury if there was a defect or malfunction with the equipment.
How an Attorney Can Help
When you have been injured, you might be facing stress on top of the pain from your injuries. The accident could have impacted your ability to go to work, drive a car, and pay for your bills. An experienced Illinois premises liability attorney can help you determine if you have a claim against the property owner or responsible party for your injury. If you do, an attorney can begin gathering evidence to determine liability. This might include requesting and reviewing the following:
- Surveillance footage before, during, and after your accident
- Accident or incident reports
- Inspection, repairs, and maintenance records
- Safety and security logs
- Personnel records for individuals who repaired, maintained, or inspected the equipment
- Contracts for service, installation, or repairs
An experienced Chicago premises liability lawyer can also handle the insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery. At Staver Law Group, we have the experience you need to recover compensation for your injuries. We’re also here to help guide you through the personal injury process. You can contact us for a free, confidential legal consultation and we can discuss with you how we can help.