Elevator and Escalator Injury Attorney in Boston

The elevator and escalator injury attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers have experience handling these complicated cases. Our premises liability lawyers know how devastating these accidents can be and will fight to help you collect full compensation from all responsible parties.

Our contingency fee payment structure means that you pay no upfront costs. Our law firm does not get paid until we win your case and recover money for you. Contact us right away at (617) 777-7777 or through our online contact form.

There are tens of thousands of escalators and elevators located in buildings throughout metro Boston. While people who use these metal machines to travel from one floor to another assume that they are safe, the truth is that many are not.

Elevator and escalator accidents probably happen more often than you might think. Approximately 27 people die in elevator accidents in the United States every year, and about 10,000 sustain injuries.

However, the data shows that you are more likely to be injured while riding an escalator than an elevator.

In September 2021, an ascending escalator at the Back Bay MBTA station reversed at a high rate of speed and sent people spilling backward. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. That same MBTA station has had issues with its escalators over the years. In one incident, a broken part caused an escalator to roll backward and 15 people to be taken to Boston hospitals for medical care.

When elevator and escalator accidents happen, manufacturers, property owners and companies responsible for inspecting and maintaining these machines can be held liable.

Who’s Responsible for My Elevator or Escalator Accident?

Elevators and escalators are in shopping malls, department stores, sports complexes, office buildings and public transportation buildings.

When an accident happens, and an innocent person is hurt or even killed, the accident victim or the victim’s family often wonders who is to blame. Often, multiple parties are responsible for the accident, including:

Elevator/escalator manufacturers: Companies that manufacture elevators, escalators and their component parts can be held liable when one of these machines malfunctions and hurts someone. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their products are safe in design and come with proper warnings and instructions.

Repair and maintenance companies: In most cases, a building’s elevators and escalators are inspected, repaired and maintained by third-party contractors. However, if a repair company acted negligently or carelessly, the company may be responsible for your accident. Elevators and escalators are complex machines that require regular maintenance to ensure safe operation.

Property owners: Building owners have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe, and that elevators and escalators are in good working condition. The property owner is responsible for making sure that repair companies adhere to maintenance and inspection schedules. Property owners can be held liable when a person is injured because one of their elevators or escalators needed repair. When elevators or escalators show signs of disrepair (for example, when an elevator shakes from side to side or an escalator suddenly accelerates), the property owner should take them out of service. Allowing people to use broken equipment can cause serious injury and even death.

Damages in Elevator and Escalator Accident Cases

If you have been hurt in an elevator or escalator accident, you may be entitled to damages to compensate for your injury and any losses. These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Anticipated future medicals costs
  • Lost income and wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress (such as anxiety and depression)
  • Scarring and disfigurement

In most cases, accident victims have a difficult time calculating the value of their damages. They may not realize the compensation to which they are entitled. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you estimate your damages and ensure that you do not shortchange yourself in settlement negotiations.

To win your case and recover money, you will need to show that the at-fault parties owed you a duty of care and breached that duty. In addition, you must show that the at-fault parties’ actions caused the damages that you say you sustained.

Elevator and escalator accidents can be deadly. These cases are rare, but they do occur. In wrongful death cases, the accident victim’s family can seek financial recovery from any liable parties.

Elevator and escalator injury cases are complicated and often require expert witnesses and accident reconstructionist. An attorney can help you collect the necessary evidence to prove negligence and obtain maximum compensation.

Lack of Maintenance Can Cause Elevator Accidents

Elevators are complicated machines that require regular inspections and service. Unfortunately, when elevator owners put maintenance on the backburner, catastrophic events are likely to occur.

Here are some other causes of elevator accidents:

  • Faulty maintenance or repairs
  • Inadequate inspections
  • Improper installation
  • Electrical problems
  • Defective parts (such as cables, doors and pulleys)
  • Lack of barriers blocking open shafts
  • Operating elevators when they are undergoing repairs
  • Poorly trained elevator operators
Most Elevator Accidents Involve Falls

About half of all elevator accidents involve falls. For example, people can fall down an elevator shaft when an elevator door opens but no car appears or when trying to exit an elevator stuck between floors.

Elevator accidents also occur when:

  • Elevators suddenly stop, drop or free fall
  • Elevators stop above or below a floor and create a trip-and-fall hazard
  • Elevator doors suddenly close when a person is entering or exiting
  • An electrical malfunction occurs
Elevator Accidents Can Cause Broken Bones and Head Injuries

As detailed above, a wide variety of circumstances can cause an elevator accident. However, our elevator accident attorneys know that a malfunctioning elevator is more likely to cause some injuries rather than others.

Here is a partial list of some common elevator injuries that we tend to see in our Boston office:

  • Broken bones
  • Muscle, tendon and ligament damage
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Spine injuries
  • Crushed limbs (which can require amputation)
Improper Maintenance and Defective Parts Can Cause Escalator Accidents

Like elevators, escalators are complicated machines that require routine maintenance and regular inspections. When property owners ignore maintenance schedules or hire unqualified service people to perform repairs, tragedy can strike.

Other causes of escalator accidents include:

  • Lack of inspections
  • Improper installation
  • Electrical problems
  • Defective parts (such as chains, brakes, steps and railings)
  • Operating escalators when they are undergoing repairs
Common Causes of Escalator Accidents

Under the best of conditions, escalators can be tricky to navigate. Riders must step onto the moving metal stairway without losing their balance or getting their clothing or belongings stuck in the moving parts. When escalators do not operate the way that they should, accidents are likely to occur.

Some common causes of escalator accidents include:

  • Sudden stops or acceleration
  • Sudden reverse of direction
  • Clothing, shoes or accessories become caught
  • Broken steps
  • Slippery steps
  • Sharp parts or edges
  • Electrical malfunction
  • Nonworking emergency stop button

Escalators should have emergency buttons that halt their operation and skirts and guards to prevent injury. In addition, the end of the escalator should have clear markings so that people know where to step off.

Moving walkways like the ones at Boston Logan International Airport can also malfunction and cause injury.

Children and older adults are the two groups most likely to be injured in escalator accidents. These vulnerable riders are at risk of falling and getting their hands and feet stuck in the moving parts of the machinery. They are also at risk of falling on the moving steps, falling over the railway or falling while exiting the stairs. In addition, children can get caught in an escalator and suffer a loss of limb.

Escalators Have Sharp Metal Teeth That Can Shred Skin

It is not difficult to imagine how a person can get hurt on an escalator. Escalators have moving metal steps and sharp metal teeth that can shred flesh and cause permanent injury scarring.

Some common escalator accident injuries that our escalator accident attorneys have seen include:

  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Muscle, tendon and ligament damage
  • Concussions, traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Scalping injuries
  • Crushed limbs (which can require amputation)
Tips for Staying Safe While Riding an Escalator

While escalator riders have no control over whether an escalator has been inspected or is in good repair, there are some steps that riders can take to prevent or mitigate escalator injuries:

  • Always stand face forward with your feet in the middle of the step.
  • Do not hang over the side of the escalator or sit on the railing.
  • Do not let children play on escalators, ride them by themselves or sit on escalator stairs.
  • Do not bring strollers or wheelchairs onto the escalator. Use an elevator instead.
  • Make sure that your shoes are tied and secure purse and bag straps.

To learn about how our personal injury attorneys can help you with a claim involving an elevator or escalator accident, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers at (617) 777-7777 or complete our online form.

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