Most people can remember that fear as a child when they stood at the bottom of an escalator and tried to get up the nerve to jump onto it. As adults, there might be that moment when the elevator car lurches and the thought of a possible drop elevates the heart rate. Although these fears are generally unfounded, escalators and elevators do lead to injuries every day across America. Some of these accidents are fatal.
In Lexington in 2018, an HVAC worker and father of five fell to his death down an open elevator shaft, according to WKYT. In Louisville, in 2014, a member of a temporary cleaning crew working at the Kosmos Cement Plant stepped through the door into an elevator shaft after the doors opened when the car was not present. The worker fell four stories to his death, according to the news story on WKYT. These are especially tragic events, but serious injuries happen to people going to the mall or using public transportation who use people movers with far greater regularity than most people believe.
There are many different ways in which a person can get hurt in an elevator accident, including:
- The elevator car falls and impacts the bottom level at a high rate of speed;
- The elevator stops suddenly in the midst of a rapid ascent or descent;
- The car stops between floors and passengers are injured trying to exit the car;
- Passengers get injured when the doors close prematurely on the victim while entering the car; or
- The elevator accelerates rapidly, causing passenger falls.
Most of the severe elevator accident injuries happen when the elevator car plummets, leading to impact injuries. The accident may have happened because of mechanical failure due to a manufacturer’s flaw, maintenance errors, or defective parts.
Although people might believe that they are safer taking an escalator, there are thousands of accidents involving escalators each year. The design and manufacture of the escalator has not changed considerably since its invention in 1892. There have been some improvements, such as the installation of safety stop buttons, automatic sprinklers for the underlying mechanics, and deflector brushes. However, there are many types of accidents that can occur, including:
- Passengers getting entangled in loose panels at the bottom of the escalator;
- Falling on the stairs due to jerky motion or sudden starts and stops;
- Clothing, straps, or other loose items on the passengers getting caught between the moving stair and the side wall of the escalator; and
- Lacerations, abrasions, and bruises from protrusions on the apparatus.
Accidents may be the result of negligent maintenance, a failure to create and adhere to an appropriate inspection schedule, or faulty parts. Injuries can involve broken bones, traumatic brain injury, neck and back injuries, and strangulation.
A trip to the mall or a visit to a friend’s apartment should not lead to a tragic accident in an elevator or on an escalator. When it does, the victim needs to find the right help.
Murphy and Associates Get Justice for Personal Injury Victims
An elevator or escalator accident can have devastating consequences for those injured. The injuries can lead to medical bills, loss of income, necessary accommodations to the home and vehicle, changes in loved ones’ employment to care for the victim, and terrible pain and suffering. The experienced Kentucky Personal Injury Attorneys at Murphy & Associates, PLC will help guide you through the process and work hard to get the compensation to which you are entitled. To schedule a confidential initial consultation, call us at (502) 305-9657.