A scary New York escalator accident last winter, stopped one step short of tragic thanks to a fully operational safety feature as a 21-month old infant's hand got caught in a Barnes & Nobel Escalator. The boy, who was accompanied by an adult, tripped and fell while riding the escalator in the Broadway and 82nd street location. His hand somehow lodged in the mechanism and he was dragged up the escalator as witnesses watched in horror.
This is not an uncommon occurrence in The United States. Indeed, a 2006 study by the Department of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health showed a "disproportionate number of escalator-related injuries among children who were under 5 years." In the 12 years between 1990 and 2002, there were 26,000 escalator accidents involving children nationwide.
Thankfully, the escalator had been properly maintained and the step-upthrust safety device stopped the machine before the boy could be seriously injured. He walked away from this accident with just cuts and scrapes instead of an accident that could have left him amputated or even taken his life.
However, this relatively happy ending is not always the case with escalator accidents. The recent rash of fatal accidents on escalators up and down the East Coast has put new emphasis on the safety and inspection of all of these commonplace machines.
For example, The Washington Department of Labor & Industries recently concluded a four-month long investigation into the tragic Bellevue Square escalator accident. In this case, three of the escalator's safety features failed to stop the device. In fact, the escalator only stopped after a witness pushed the manual emergency stop button.
The investigation found 32 code violations, 15 of which were directly related to the malfunction. This escalator was supposedly regularly-inspected. If this regularly-inspected escalator could have 32 code violations, how many violations could there be present on the thousands of escalators across New York, regularly inspected and not?
More importantly, who is responsible if a tragedy does occur?
If you or a loved one is injured in an escalator accident, the property owners, equipment inspectors and/or operators, maintenance personnel or even the manufacturer of the escalator may be liable for your injuries and the resulting pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Contact an experienced New York escalator accident attorney to discuss your case. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122.