Elevators and escalators have been around long enough that most people consider them safe. While that’s true to a certain extent, they’re also more dangerous than many people realize. In fact, some studies have shown that well over 10,000 people are injured in escalator accidents alone each year. Although a lot of injuries that people suffer in escalator and elevator accidents are related to falls, a fair number of them are tied to hands, feet and legs becoming trapped.
How do elevator and escalator accidents occur?
As mentioned above, some injuries are simply due to tripping and falling. But in other instances, shoes and clothing become trapped in the moving pieces of an escalator or elevator, which can pull the body, thereby causing crushing and pinching injuries. This harm can be extremely painful, and the injuries may require an extensive amount of treatment.
When individuals become trapped by an escalator or an elevator, they might also pull back hard, which can cause them to fall backward when they come free. All too often, this results in head and neck injuries. Even trip and fall injuries on an escalator can be debilitating.
So, how do you spot a dangerous elevator or escalator?
While you can never be 100% certain that an escalator or elevator is safe, you can be aware of signs that it may not be working properly. This includes keeping your eyes and ears open for any of the following:
- Abnormally large gaps: If you see large openings in an escalator or an elevator that you don’t think should be there, you should avoid the contraption altogether. After all, many of these spaces are wide enough for a foot or hand to get caught, which can then lead to serious injuries.
- Suspicious noises: Properly working escalators and elevators should move seamlessly. But if they’re in disrepair, they might make unusual noises, such as screeching or thumping. If you hear unanticipated sounds from an escalator or elevator, you might want to find another way to get where you’re going.
- Missing plates: There should be a solid, unbroken plate at the top and bottom of an escalator where you step off. If this plate is compromised in any way, you’re at an increased risk of becoming trapped and subsequently hurt.
Of course, there are a lot of other ways that an escalator or an elevator can fail. For example, a faulty pulley system can cause an elevator to suddenly drop, only stopping once it hits the bottom floor. This, just like the other defects mentioned above, can result in significant harm.
What should you do after being injured by an escalator or an elevator?
Your first step is to ensure that you seek the medical attention that you need. However, you’ll also want to take photos of the faulty escalator or elevator that caused your injuries. If you’re unable to do that given the extent of your injuries, you might want to have a family member or friend take photos for you.
Also, be sure to gather witness statements and contact information, as you might need their testimony later. You can also try to obtain security footage and maintenance records pertaining to the escalator or elevator in question. Keeping track of how your injuries have caused you physical, emotional and financial harm is important, too.
Do you need help building your legal claim?
If you’ve been injured by an escalator or an elevator, you might be able to recover compensation for your losses. The process isn’t always easy, though, which is why you might want to have a competent legal professional by your side as you navigate your case.