Injuries on Elevators and Escalators
The safety of elevators and escalators in office buildings, department stores, hotels, apartment complexes, shopping malls and other areas in Atlanta and throughout Georgia is a serious concern.
Nationally, an estimated 17,000 injuries and 30 deaths occur each year among people using these devices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Consumer Product Safety Commission report.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a fall, entanglement or other incident involving an elevator or escalator, you should seek a consultation with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer without delay.
If the negligence of the device’s manufacturer and/or the owner of the elevator or escalator caused your injury, you may have the right to seek just compensation for any resulting harm you may have suffered.
Why Do Elevator and Escalator Incidents Occur?
Serious injuries can occur due to unsafe elevators and escalators. These injuries can include soft tissue damage, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury and hand, foot and hip fractures.
When these devices are in dangerous condition, incidents can occur such as:
- Falls due to sudden stopping or accelerating between floors
- Tripping and falling when exiting an elevator that is failing to level properly
- Getting caught in a door that unexpectedly shuts
- Falling down an open elevator shaft
- Becoming entangled in an escalator’s mechanism.
Unfortunately, these accidents often are entirely preventable. They result from the negligence of one or more parties. Examples of such negligence include:
- Manufacturing the device with a flawed design or defective parts
- Failing to properly inspect, maintain and repair the device
- Putting an elevator or escalator back into service after a reported incident without proper repairs or inspection
- Violating building codes and other laws that regulate the use of these devices.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Elevator and Escalator Injuries?
An investigation into the elevator or escalator incident which has left you or your loved one with injuries may reveal that the manufacturer should be held liable.
For instance, the manufacturer could be responsible due to flaws in the way the device was designed or due to the use of faulty parts such as axle bearings that unexpectedly give out. In some cases, elevator and escalator manufacturers enter into ongoing service and maintenance contracts with their customers. They may be liable based on their failure to live up to the terms of those contracts.
In most cases, however, the owner of the elevator or escalator should be held legally responsible if that party:
- Knew of a problem with the device and failed to repair it or warn users
- Failed to properly report qualifying incidents to the appropriate regulatory authority, or to remove the elevator or escalator from service pending inspection.
With regard to the statutory duty to report, “qualifying incidents” include any incidents resulting in personal injury or death, or in which the equipment itself sustains structural damage. Where such an incident has occurred, the owner/occupier must not only report the incident, but also must remove the equipment from service, and refrain from altering or repairing it in any way until it can be inspected by a certified inspector. Georgia Courts have held that the failure to adhere to this procedure constitutes spoliation of evidence.
It is also important to note that the owners of elevators and escalators in Georgia are treated as “common carriers.” Under O.C.G.A. § 46-9-132, they must “exercise extraordinary diligence to protect the lives and persons” of those who use these devices. They cannot delegate that duty to another party.
Get Help from an Atlanta Elevator and Escalator Injury Attorney
Attorneys Jim Poe and Matt Poe have extensive experience with helping those in Atlanta and throughout Georgia who have suffered harm due to defective products and dangerous property conditions. If you or a loved one has suffered harm in an incident involving an unsafe elevator or escalator, they can put their knowledge and insights to work for you as well as their unwavering dedication to protecting the rights and interests of their clients.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation.
Sources / More Information
- Deaths and Injuries Involving Elevators or Escalators, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention