Escalators are ubiquitous in a modern society such as ours. You can find them everywhere – from airports to train stations, hotels, shopping malls, and arenas. As a result, not many people are actually aware of the risks they pose.
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that every year, at least 30 people are killed and thousands of people are injured in accidents involving escalators.
Studies also show that escalator accidents are not reported to the authorities in some cases, so the actual number of fatalities and injuries could be higher.
Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff law firm, based in Brooklyn, New York, has been at the forefront of defending victims of escalator accidents for nearly a century. Since 1922, we have provided legal representation to over 30,000 personal injury victims and have managed to recover over $1 billion in damages.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of an escalator accident in Brooklyn or if any of your loved ones has been injured or died in an accident involving an escalator, you have the right to file a claim against the parties responsible for the accident.
Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment. We offer a free consultation for our first-time clients. We have highly experienced lawyers who have successfully defended the rights of thousands of personal injury victims in Brooklyn, New York.
Factors that Contribute to Escalator Accidents in Brooklyn, NY
Data shows that escalator accidents are generally caused by the following factors.
- Defective design
- Safety code violations
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Hazards present in the space surrounding the escalator
Defective design, in particular, is a problem that can lead to serious accidents in Brooklyn. The most common escalator design defects include:
- Excessive gap between the steps
- Missing steps
- Excessive gap between the escalator’s handrail and the balustrade
- Lack of machine guards at handrail entry points
- Misaligned or broken comb plates
- Lack of secure foothold in the landing area and the tread surface
- Lack of automatic stop mechanism for entrapment related emergencies
The aforementioned defects can lead to slips and falls, crush injuries, loss of toes and fingers, and other such serious injuries, which can be fatal in some cases.
The lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLC are familiar with the mechanics of escalator operation and aware of the risks posed by defective design and other factors that can lead to escalator accidents.
If you or any of your loved ones have been a victim of an escalator accident in Brooklyn, we can provide you with legal representation and make sure you are compensated for the suffering you underwent.
The Right to Compensation in Brooklyn Escalator Accidents
If you or any of your loved ones have been injured as a result of an escalator accident in Brooklyn, New York, you can seek compensation from the parties who are responsible for the accident.
An escalator accident lawsuit is similar to any premises liability accident lawsuit in terms of the legal concepts involved. As a plaintiff, you are required to prove the following assertions.
- There was a hazard associated with the escalator (defective design, violation of a safety code, poor maintenance, or a hazardous situation in the surrounding area).
- The defendant/defendants knew about it.
- The accident in which you and/or your loved ones were injured was caused as a result of the defect.
Depending on the circumstances pertaining to your lawsuit, the defendant could be the owner of the property where the escalator is installed, the designer or manufacturer of the equipment, the party which sold the escalator to the property owner, and the company or service provider who was responsible for the installation, repair, and maintenance of the escalator.
If the accident was caused by defective design, the designer/manufacturer of the escalator, the seller, and the property owner are likely to be the proper defendants.
If it was caused as a result of poor maintenance, the property owner and the service provider who is in charge of repair and maintenance are likely to be the proper defendants.
The escalator accident lawyers at our Brooklyn, New York based law firm can make sure that all the parties responsible for the accident are brought into the litigation. We can also ensure that you are fully compensated for the physical and emotional suffering you had to undergo as a result of the accident.
The compensation for the victims of escalator accidents is usually determined based on medical bills (past and future), lost income (past and future), pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, and other costs associated with treating the injury.
In case of fatal accidents, the family members of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties responsible and seek compensation.
The Concept of Premises Liability
Escalator accidents in Brooklyn, NY usually come under the domain of premises liability, which is a broad, overarching legal theory which states that the owner of the property is responsible for the mishaps and accidents that take place on his or her property as a result of hazardous conditions.
Under New York law, property owners have a ‘duty of care’ which requires them to keep the premises clean, especially if it is a place which attracts large crowds on a regular basis.
They are also required to inspect the premises regularly and fix the hazards (structural or otherwise) that could pose a safety risk to the visitors.
The law also states that property owners have a ‘duty to warn’, which requires them to notify people of the safety hazards on their property – usually by placing warning signs at the site of the hazard.
The unfortunate fact, however, is that many property owners are either unaware of these responsibilities or simply don’t care.
In an escalator accident lawsuit, the liability of the property owner is often determined based on the answers to the following questions.
- Did the property owner know about the safety hazard (with respect to the escalator) beforehand?
- Should the property owner have known that riding the escalator in question was dangerous?
Establishing that the property owner had prior knowledge of the hazard on his or her property – generally referred to as ‘notice’ in legal terms – is the first and perhaps the most important step in winning an escalator accident lawsuit.
Property owners are required to inspect the escalators on their premises on a regular basis and make sure they are safe to ride and in perfect working condition.
If there is a problem with an escalator, and if the owner does not take any steps to fix the problem, they will be held responsible for the accidents caused as a result.
As a victim of an escalator accident in Brooklyn, you will be required to prove two important things.
- The property owner failed in his or her duty (duty of care and/or duty to warn) to keep the premises safe.
- The accident was caused as a result of the owner’s negligence.
Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff law firm has highly experienced lawyers who can prove both these points without a shadow of a doubt and maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation.
Case of Ramirez v. Northern Blvd. 4818 LLC
This particular case can help you understand how escalator accident lawsuits typically work.
The lawsuit was filed as a result of an accident which took place at the Shops on Northern in Long Island City.
On that day, the plaintiff – Cleotilde Juarez Ramirez – had gone to the mall along with her family, which included her husband and two children – a four-year old boy and a one-year old baby.
The family wanted to go to the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant located at the second floor of the mall. They tried to take the elevator first, but changed their mind after waiting for a few minutes and chose to take the escalator instead.
According to a witness, there was a sign placed at the escalator’s base, which prohibited users from taking strollers on the escalator. The witness stated that the sign was in English and also contained a pictogram.
The Ramirez family rode the escalator – with Ramirez and her son on one step and her husband with the stroller on the step above her. All of a sudden, there was a popping sound, following which Ramirez was hit by a broken metal piece which was sticking out of the escalator’s side wall.
This caused her to fall backwards, which in turn caused her husband to let go of the stroller. The stroller got stuck between the escalator walls with the baby still in it.
Ramirez and her son managed to safely exit the escalator by passing underneath the stroller. Once they did, a mall employee stopped the escalator with the help of the emergency button, which allowed Ramirez’s husband to retrieve the baby.
Afterwards, Ramirez’s husband observed the metal piece that had struck his wife and found out that it was completely covered in duct tape.
Shortly after the accident, Ramirez filed a lawsuit against the owner of the mall as well as the escalator maintenance company.
The Arguments Made by the Defendants
The defendants claimed that the accident cannot be attributed to negligence on their part, since they inspected the escalator on a regular basis and did not know that it was defective.
Furthermore, a worker from the maintenance company testified that he had noticed the duct tape covered metal piece while performing routine inspections in the past, but did not find any loose parts or damaged parts nearby.
He also stated that he did not want to peel the tape off, as he was concerned about the sticky residue it might leave behind.
Another worker testified that there was no problem with the escalator and that he managed to ride it several times on the day of the accident without any issues.
Ramirez countered the arguments made by the defendants by presenting evidence which showed that she did not do anything that could have resulted in the accident.
An independent expert who inspected the escalator cited operational negligence and lack of proper maintenance as possible reasons for the accident.
He also added that the repair job – which involved covering the metal piece with duct tape – must have been done after the last city inspection, as the escalator would not have passed the inspection otherwise.
The Court Holds the Defendants Liable
The court ultimately sided with Ramirez and noted that the presence of the duct tape should have raised a red flag for the maintenance person as well as the owner.
While the court accepted the argument made by the defendants that they did not fail in their duty to inspect the escalator, it also raised a question as to why they did not take any action despite noticing the duct tape covered metal piece.
Usually, property owners who take reasonable measures to keep their premises safe are not held liable for accidents that take place on their premises, especially if they did not have prior knowledge of the hazard that led to the accident.
They can avoid liability in such cases by proving that the escalator in question was inspected regularly prior to the accident.
In the Ramirez case, the defendants were able to prove that the escalator was regularly inspected.
The court, however, decided that it was a case of maintenance negligence, since the service personnel as well as the owner had noticed the duct tape, but failed to take the necessary steps to rectify the problem.
As a result, the court decided that the defendants were indeed liable for the accident and the injuries resulted from it.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Brooklyn, New York Escalator Injury Attorney Today!
Brooklyn is a place where escalators are so common that people often forget that these are complex devices that can malfunction due to defective design, poor maintenance, negligent operation, and a number of other reasons.
When they do malfunction, the results can be serious, particularly for young children, who might have to suffer the consequences of the accident throughout their lives.
Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff has a team of talented lawyers who have decades of experience in defending the rights of personal injury victims.
We will use every legal tool at our disposal to build a solid case against the people responsible for the accident, defend your rights aggressively, and make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Here is a brief overview of what our lawyers can do for you.
- Find out what caused the escalator to malfunction.
- Find out if the property owner had prior knowledge of the defect and failed to take the necessary steps to either fix it or notify the passengers of the problem.
- Determine the liability of the parties involved – from the property owner to the company which designed/manufactured the escalator, the company which sold the escalator to the owner, and the company responsible for service and maintenance.
- Build a solid case against the parties responsible and gather the required evidence to prove their culpability in a court of law.
If you happen to be a victim of an escalator accident and are in need of a good personal injury lawyer, get in touch with the lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff today.
We have a successful track record of defending the rights of Brooklyn, New York residents for nearly a century. We can provide you with high quality legal representation and make sure you receive the maximum compensation allowed under law.
You can complete the form or call us directly on 212-697-9280 to schedule your free consultation.