Escalator Accident Lawyers Los Angeles

Ehline Law Firm PC – L.A. Escalator Injuries Law Offices

Unlike elevators, escalators are usually angled, moving stairways, enclosed on the sides, waist high, whereas elevators are typically enclosed compartments, located inside concealed, vertical carrier housings. The similarities between these two lifting devices, are that they move and guide people to and fro; and that the operators and maintainers of these people movers are considered common carriers under California negligence law. This means that these operators and landlords are held to a heightened standard of care in the machinery maintenance and operations. There are approximately 30,000 escalators in the United States, with as many as 575 million people riding them every day.

Statistics show that approximately 11,000 people are injured each year, and approximately 27 of these incidents result in deaths. Our experienced attorneys stand up for people who suffered injuries when people in charge were not being reasonable, and this unreasonableness led to injuries. One commonality between escalator belt, and elevator lift-type devices, are that the number of individuals harmed or slain are about equal to one another. One major difference is that when an escalator that is not functioning can still be used as a staircase. When a common carrier does not keep the escalator “safe and fit” for its particular use, they have failed to act with greatest degree of safety. The results are that lives are taken or permanently harmed, by the conveyance.

Ehline Law Firm helps out families and their loved ones who have been severely injured due to a mishap while using these machines. Victims we assist, typically are those individuals who have had their fingers, flip flops, dresses, and toes stuck in the belts, grates, trusses, tracks, handrails and steps and been badly hurt. Our law firm has the technical expertise and experience to attack all angles of these serious personal injury-type claims, and we have recovered significant results for people just like you. Call us at 888.400.9721 now to get free legal advice.

  • Escalator and Moving Walkway Liability
  • Common Causes of Escalator Accidents
  • Overview of Injury Causation
  • The Attractive Nuisance Question
  • Types of Typical Injuries
  • Immediate Steps to Take
  • Retention of Counsel

Escalator and Moving Walkway Liability

Escalator liability falls on the building owner or manager to ensure the mechanical stairs are safe for riders and that they are properly maintained for employees, the public or tenants. Many airports use moving walkway type conveyor belt systems that are “horizontal”, in order to help passengers quickly ingress and egress from terminals to exits, etc.

Moving walkways and escalators are required to have handrails that keep pace with the conveyors or steps so people have something to balance themselves upon and they are moving. Large indoor and outdoor malls will normally utilize moving staircase type escalators, that are positioned at an “angle”. To a lesser degree, condos and apartment complexes, as well as retail storefronts will also utilize these transports. As discussed, they are most often used in areas that pedestrians frequent, such as convention centers, bus and train stations, airports, stadiums and arenas, as well as both private and publicly owned buildings. In order to save space, particularly in subways, spiral and tube types of escalators are used and require additional expertise in their maintenance.

In some of these cases, there may be more than one person responsible for managing and maintaining the common areas where these conveyors are deployed. The owner or manager is responsible for the utmost diligence in care of the escalators and when there is an escalator accident the owner/manager can be held liable for their negligence. These cases can become very complex and that is why an excellent lawyer, such as those located at Ehline Law Firm PC can be a vital part of any successful personal injury claim.

Common Causes of Escalator Accidents

The laws says that the owner/operator is responsible for the escalator being safe for passengers to ride. There are many reasons something can go wrong with an escalator. Human error usually is totally, or partially to blame for the causes of most accidents. It could be a mechanical defect like a bad part, or it could be that the maintenance personnel failed, refused, or neglected to properly repair or service the escalator, which can lead to a malfunction. Certain types of breakdowns and failures can cause sudden stops that can jolt riders, especially passengers that are not holding onto the rubber handrailing. Cases we have investigated involve fires and explosions caused by overheating, flammable lubricating oil, and/or inadequate sprinkler devices. In these tragic cases, the base of the flame acts as a wick, culminating in the trench effect (Read PDF here.)

Damaged worn and faulty equipment needs to be updated and fixed.  This requires reasonable inspections and servicing, so as to minimize the chances of potential injuries to riders. Spaces between the grated, metal stairs have been known to develop gaps between them and the stationary barricade. Children are at a particular risk for losing a foot or finger when they are caught and amputated or avulsed. When the base steps are improperly adjusted, this can cause them to go out of flush with the grooves and foot tread, which then becomes ripe for a trip and fall hazard. If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator, supermarket runway, or moving platform tragedy, it can be due to lack of proper maintenance or inspections, and the owner and manager can be held liable. It can also be a manufacturing or design error imparting liability to large manufacturers.


Overview of escalator injury causation:

  • Improper belt and parts
  • Improper repairs and maintenance
  • Jarring and jolting stops that are sudden
  • Missing protective railings and side panels
  • Entrapment of feet, tennis shoes, digits and so forth, in “side traps”
  • Improperly tightened parts, broken, damaged or missing comb plate teeth

Attractive Nuisance

Sadly, small kids, especially adventurous little boys are drawn to escalators as a play thing to have fun upon. And that is ok, so long and the fun is part of the regular use (ie going up and down while remaining stationary, holding the moving rails, and with adult supervision.) But it is also foreseeable that children may wander away and try and play around on the machinery. The attractive moving parts are easily misinterpreted as something that is safe in the undeveloped minds of young-lings.

Of the most common harm to little ones, is the aforementioned side entrapment hazard. Children tend to lean on, or stand closer to the plexiglass, or metal paneling as they grab onto the moving rails for support. Their tiny fingers can get caught up and degloved in the rail belts, and their little shoes and shoe strings can get pulled into the step grates. Even when parents hold their child’s hand, and keep their fingers clear, there is still the risk of having a foot trapped when leaving the platform.

Injuries Sustained In Escalator Accidents

Every year there are thousands of escalator accidents that cause severe injuries to the rider involved. Hand and foot injuries are the most common escalator incidents, but there have been head trauma and knee injuries. Amputations, such as a fingertip amputation, can also occur and parents should check children’s shoelaces prior to getting on the moving stairs.

What Should You Immediately Do After an Escalator or Moving Walkway Mishap

The first thing you must do after a catastrophe is to stabilize the victim and get proper medical care, which is elementary. After that, you or your attorney must immediately take pictures of the scene, gather witness statements, call the landlord and advise of the problem. You must also make an incident report, and call the relevant law enforcement agency(ies), to make sure that local, state and federal safety and maintenance guidelines were and are being followed, that video and under surveillance is not hidden or destroyed, etc.

Hire a Lawyer Right Away After an Escalator Injury

If you or a loved one has been injured when riding an escalator it is important to have the representation of an attorney that specializes in this type of accident that can often be complex and have more than one party that can be held liable. It is important to promptly hire a qualified and experienced elevator and escalator accident attorney.

Things Attorneys Can Help With

Your properly trained and experienced advocates will undertake a prompt factual investigation, identify and contact witnesses, preserve vital evidence, and make the proper liability insurance claims and contact the insurance providers, to put them on notice, as well as identify the manufacturer of the supermarket runway trolley, or other system. Counsel needs to find out if there were any recalls issued for models with that serial number as well.

These are all items of evidence that a lawyer will need in order to build your case and get you that huge verdict or settlement that you deserve. The Ehline Law Firm PC is experienced in representing victims and getting to the bottom of it, and getting them paid for their stacks of medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, pain meds, loss of comfort and enjoyment, companionship and love. Our compassionate, million dollar advocates are caring personal injury attorneys that can be reached at 888-400-9721.