Escalators play a vital role in every-day life in New York City. Thousands of escalators are found throughout the five boroughs at MTA subway stations, train stations, retail stores, office buildings, and other public places. Although they can be faster and more efficient than walking up or down hundreds of steps, they can also impose many risks. No matter how many safety precautions you might take when riding an escalator, accidents can arise — poorly maintained machinery, defective mechanics, or other hazardous conditions can all lead to accidents.
New York City escalator accidents can be legally complex. Depending on the circumstances, a lawsuit may be brought under a theory of premises liability or products liability. Based on the location of the accident, it may also involve municipal liability. Whether your accident resulted from the negligence of a property owner, repair person, inspector, or the manufacturer, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
Causes of New York City Escalator Accidents
Escalator accidents can arise due to any number of mechanical or maintenance related conditions. They may also be installed improperly, constructed with defective parts, or poorly designed. Escalator malfunctions can include:
In addition to mechanical malfunctions, broken handrails or steps, debris on steps, poor lighting and weather conditions can also lead to severe injuries. If a property owner or another responsible party has knowledge that the escalator is dangerous, they must take measures to repair it or warn about the danger. If their failure to warn or repair any known defect causes your injury, they may be held liable for your damages.
Escalator Injuries in New York City
Since escalators involve moving steps made from aluminum or stainless steel, injuries that occur on them can be severe. Falls, clothing or limb entrapment, and slippery handrails can result in injuries including broken bones, chipped teeth, lacerations, concussions, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, nerve damage, amputation, soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains, and even fatality.
If you’ve suffered injuries in an escalator accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. Depending on your injuries, you may require emergency care, dental treatment, surgeries, physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, or any other medical treatment recommended by your doctor. You may also be referred for MRIs, X-rays, and additional diagnostic testing.
While insurance may cover medical treatment up to a point, it’s often not enough to cover all the time you lost from work, your unreimbursed medical costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. In severe cases, you may also need future medical treatment. You may be entitled to recover these economic damages in a personal injury action. You may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering to compensate you for the physical pain and mental anguish endured due to another’s negligence. A court may also award damages for loss of consortium and punitive damages.
Staying Safe When Riding a New York City Escalator
While exercising precautions can’t prevent all escalator accidents from occurring, it’s still crucial to practice safety no matter how old you are. If you’re riding an escalator, secure any loose clothing or shoelaces before you board. Make sure your feet are in the center of the step and hold on to the handrail securely. In addition, you should never ride an escalator with footwear that could pose a danger, a cane, a baby carriage, or packages.
Contact a New York City Escalator Accident Attorney
If you suffered from injuries or lost a loved one in a New York City escalator accident, you should immediately contact an attorney. It's important to be aware that there are statutes of limitation to file a lawsuit and shorter ones to file an action against a municipality. An experienced New York escalator accident attorney can help protect your legal rights and recover maximum compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.
The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience obtaining compensation for victims of personal injury and escalator accidents in New York City. Located in Flushing, Queens, The Popick Law Firm handles Queens escalator accidents and personal injury cases and those that occurred in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.