Escalators are widely used in day-to-day life to enable individuals to quickly move between different floors in a building. They are located in malls, hospitals, airports, hotels, apartment complexes and more. Most people do not even think of potential hazards when they step onto an escalator. However, escalators can lead to slip and fall accidents if they are defective or not properly maintained.
Malfunctioning escalators can cause serious injuries, whether it is lacerations, amputations, broken bones or head trauma. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, falls cause 75 percent of the nearly 6,000 escalator injuries that occur in the United States each year.
Slip and fall accidents tend to happen on escalators when they are not properly maintained. Escalators can pose risks to passengers when they have loose screws, broken steps, missing teeth, protruding comb plates that snag clothing, too much space between the steps and sides, and other defects. Mishaps can also occur when there are sudden, unexpected movements due to faulty machinery.
Research shows elderly individuals who are aged 65 and older are especially vulnerable to slip and fall accidents on escalators. They may suffer a lack of coordination when disembarking or be unable to maintain their balance. According to a 2008 University of Indiana study, slips, trips and falls accounted for the majority of escalator mishaps among 40,000 older adults from 1991 to 2005. Children younger than five years of age are also prone to escalator accidents.
If an individual has a slip and fall accident on an escalator, the property owner could be held liable for failing to meet safety regulations. Property owners are responsible for ensuring their escalators operate safely as part of their duty to maintain a hazard-free environment for visitors. They are obligated to have escalators inspected routinely and to address any safety concerns immediately.
It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If you were injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik, your Ft. Lauderdale personal injury team to learn more about your rights.