Earlier this year, a one-year old boy was gruesomely injured in an escalator accident at the Upper West Side location of Barnes & Noble. The New York City escalator accident occurred in the heart of Manhattan when the youngster got his hand caught in the escalator and couldn't remove it in time. The boy was in the care of his nanny at the time and fell, causing his hand to get wedged in the steps of the escalator.
While escalator accidents aren't exactly commonplace, they are a very real danger and represent a disproportionately high percentage of the department store accidents recorded each year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission records over 1,000 escalator accidents every year in the United States. In fact, people are 15 times more likely to be injured while riding an escalator than while riding an elevator. Over 70% of those are caused by slip and fall accidents during everyday operation. (The others are divided among escalator malfunctions and the catching of loose garments.)
Unfortunately, many of these accidents involve children, who are prone to falling while riding the escalator and escaping the watchful eyes of their guardians. Doctor Alan Nager, of the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, says that escalators "pose a significant danger and it's really unrecognized."
Thankfully the young boy injured at the Manhattan store was rescued before his injuries became too severe. He was treated at the hospital for cuts to his hand but was spared from amputation-something that Dr. Nager says is far too common. "We've seen some fingers that were either near or complete amputations because they get stuck in that escalator and can't get out," says Nager.
Other types of escalator accidents-especially those involving catastrophic mechanical failure often have much different outcomes. Roughly 29% of all escalator accidents worldwide are fatal. Thankfully, the U.S. only accounts for 1/3 of that total number.
Experts recommend that the best way to protect yourself from injury is to read the warning labels, pay attention while on the escalator, always face forward, and know where the emergency stop buttons are. While many escalator accidents are just that (accidents) and cannot be avoided, smart thinking and quick action can limit the severity of related injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured on an escalator, the owner, operator of the escalator or the manufacturer may be financially responsible for your injuries. Contact the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights and put a New York City escalator accident attorney on your side.