A surprising number of people are injured each year in the United States on escalators. Many of these victims fall and suffer serious injuries, especially if they fall over the side or down the length of the escalator. If you or a loved one fell or faced other injuries on an escalator in the Baltimore area, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today to discuss your injury case.
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence or the dangers of a malfunctioning escalator, you may be entitled to file an injury lawsuit against the property owner or another negligent party to seek compensation for the harms you suffered. For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our Baltimore escalator injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.
Common Causes of Escalator Injuries
The causes of escalator injuries vary among age groups and even by gender. There are statistics and studies available on the different types of escalator injuries and their causes, but injuries typically occur in two major ways: falls and being caught in the escalator’s moving parts.
Injuries from falls are often caused by a few factors. First, you could always be at risk of injury if the escalator is not working properly. Jerky motions or sudden stops could knock you off your feet, potentially causing you to suffer a severe fall. Second, crowded escalators and other users who fail to follow standard practices of riding an escalator could put you at risk. For instance, people running up an escalator or trying to go the wrong direction could fall and bring you down with them or knock you down. Third, intoxication is often a factor in escalator falls. Being intoxicated in public is often ok at low levels, but it may lead to injuries if you need to rely on your balance on an escalator. Lastly, many escalator injuries are caused by a fear of riding the escalator in the first place.
Many of these injuries occur for older adults and young children. These riders are not as equipped to balance and remain clear of the moving parts at the top and bottom of the escalator, and they could become caught in the ends of the track or fall. Unsafe escalator speeds, steep tracks, and crowded escalators can contribute to these issues.
Other causes of injury cover injuries to workers. Many escalator repair operators are injured each year because of the problems they are there to fix. Many times, these injuries include being trapped in the moving parts or being electrocuted by the escalator’s power supply because the escalator was not properly stopped and turned off before repairs began.
Common Injuries on Escalators
Since most injuries are caused by falls, many people suffering severe escalator injuries suffer head and neck injuries. Falling from a high height or falling down an escalator can mean striking your head and injuring your back and neck. In many cases, these head injuries can be quite severe, as the steps of an elevator are not typically made of soft materials. Bleeding in the brain and severe traumatic brain injuries can even cause death. Other injuries to the neck and spine could also cause death or paralysis.
Other injuries include broken bones. Especially for older adults, falling from any height could lead to broken bones in the wrists and arms, legs and ankles, ribs, collar bone, hip, back, neck, and head. These injuries vary from case to case, but severely broken bones could require surgery to set and repair and may lead to ongoing pain and suffering and missed work.
Minor injuries are also common, whether by themselves or alongside other more severe injuries. Concussions could be considered “minor” in many cases, but it is always important to check a concussion to make sure the injury is not more severe and that there is no bleeding in your brain. Minor injuries more commonly refer to things like bumps, scrapes, and bruises.
Injuries from being trapped in the moving parts of an escalator can include more severe cuts and lacerations. If your foot or another body part is caught in the “teeth” at the end of an escalator, you could suffer serious puncture wounds. In addition, you may suffer crush injuries and broken bones in any body part that is pinned. Severe injuries could result in traumatic amputation or require amputation later at the hospital. Getting your hair caught in the moving escalator after falling could also cause severe injuries and damage to your scalp.
Fortunately, emergency stop buttons typically located at the top and bottom of the escalator may help people avoid serious injuries, but many victims are not so fortunate. In any case, these buttons do not help avoid injuries from falls.
Suing for Escalator Injuries in Maryland
You may be able to sue the property owner, escalator manufacturer, or another rider on the escalator for your injuries. The first step in holding someone liable for your injuries is proving they were at fault for the accident. Fault can involve failing to repair or properly maintain an escalator the party owns as well as acting unreasonably or dangerous while riding the escalator, putting others at risk. Our attorneys can help you understand whom to sue for your injuries and what compensation you might be entitled to.
How Fault is Proven in an Escalator Injury Case in Baltimore
The way to prove fault in a personal injury case such as one involving an escalator accident is to show negligence on the part of an individual or organization. Negligence can be proved by showing that someone had a duty, that they breached that duty, that the breach of that duty was the cause of the injury, and that there are damages that resulted from the breach. A duty is a responsibility that a person or corporation has to the general public. For example, the corporation that owns the building with the escalator might have a duty to have the escalator inspected once a year under state law.
A breach is when someone fails to perform a duty for which they are responsible. For example, if the corporation that owns the escalator fails to have an inspection conducted as they are supposed to, they are in breach of their duty to have the escalator inspected. Next, in order for a negligence case to be successful, you must prove that the party’s breach caused your injury. This can be shown by, for example, collecting evidence that demonstrates that if the elevator had been inspected properly, the faulty screw that led to your injury would have been discovered.
Finally, you must prove that there are actual damages that resulted from the accident. If the accident caused you to break your toe, for example, then damages could include any hospital and physical therapy bills.
Contributory Negligence in a Baltimore Escalator Injury Case
One important thing to note about proving negligence in a Maryland personal injury case is that Maryland follows a system known as contributory negligence. This is an antiquated system that is only followed by a few states at the present moment. What it basically means is that if you are in any way at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries, you cannot collect damages from the other party, even though they were far more at fault.
This is sometimes a tough concept to understand because it is frankly very counterintuitive. To illustrate by example, say that the same situation described above occurred. The corporation was required to conduct a yearly inspection of the escalator, they failed to do so, and if they had, they would have noticed the loose screw that led to your injury. However, you were also very drunk at the time you used the escalator and did not follow proper safety guidelines. If a jury finds that your actions contributed to the injury in any way, you will not be awarded any damages, even if the corporation was largely at fault.
How Damages are Calculated in a Baltimore Personal Injury Case
Damages for a personal injury case such as an escalator accident can be quite high depending on the severity of the injuries. In cases where the individual actually dies, damages can be even higher. There are a number of opportunities to seek damages, depending on the nature and extent of the injuries involved.
If your injury requires hospitalization, damages can include any hospital bills that resulted from the injury. Other medical expenses such as co-payments, medical equipment, and prescription drugs that are needed to treat the injury may also be covered. In addition, if the injury keeps you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for any lost wages. If the injury is a permanent one, the damages for lost wages can be quite high.
If the accident results in a death, a wrongful death claim can be filed against the negligent party by either a close family member or the estate of the decedent. In addition to covering any hospital costs that occurred prior to the death, you may be entitled to damages for funeral expenses, grief counseling, loss of future wages, and loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of a partner or parents and may also result in large payouts.
How a Lawyer Can Help Your Escalator Injury Case
When it comes to personal injury cases like one involving an escalator, it is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible. First and foremost, there are often statutes of limitations on when a person can file a certain claim, and if they expire you will not be allowed to bring the claim.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 3 years. However, it is strongly suggested that you do not wait this long to hire an attorney and proceed with the case. A skilled Baltimore personal injury attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will want to start collecting evidence and interviewing potential witnesses right away. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the greater the chance that this evidence disappears or witnesses can no longer remember what happened accurately.
In many cases, especially when you are suing large corporations, the negligent party may be open to discussing a potential settlement. A settlement can often be the best course of action as it saves both parties money and the hassle of having to go through the court system. However, you should never accept a settlement offer without first consulting with an attorney. It is likely that the company will try to low-ball you with its first offer. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and can make sure that if you settle, it is for an amount that is fair for you and your family.
If you do not wish to accept a settlement offer, our attorneys have the experience of successfully trying these types of cases all across the state of Maryland. We will leave no stone unturned in preparing your case and working to get a ruling in your favor as well as a large amount of damages. We will work to get this process expedited because we know that, after an injury, you are in a time of great personal need and cannot afford to wait months or years to receive the payments to which you are entitled.
Call Our Baltimore, MD Escalator Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one fell or was otherwise injured while riding an escalator in Baltimore or the surrounding areas, contact The Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our Baltimore escalator injury lawyers represent injury victims and the family members of deceased accident victims and fight to get them the compensation they deserve for serious injuries. For a free, confidential legal consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.