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Escalator Accidents: Common Risk Factors

Much like elevators, escalators are typically seen as a safe way to travel between different floors. However, serious escalator accidents are much more common in the United States than most people think. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “about 10,000 escalator-related injuries per year result in emergency department treatment in the United States.” Accidents involving escalators have the potential to leave victims with severe physical trauma.

What are some of the causes of escalator accidents in the United States? Studies have shown that the most common factors include:

  • Mechanical malfunctions – In order for an escalator to continue functioning properly, regular maintenance is required. If not, major mechanical failures could lead to life-threatening accidents.
  • Missing or broken steps – If a step is missing or broken, a rider could fall through and become trapped within the machinery below.
  • Missing or broken handrails – Although escalators only transport riders between two or three stories within a building, the heights could be hundreds of feet. If a rider falls off a moving escalator, serious fatal injuries could result.
  • Comb plate malfunctions – Comb plates are present at the top and bottom of escalators. If a comb plate has gaps, missing teeth, or is otherwise malfunctioning, a rider could get caught and seriously injured.
  • Intoxication – Alcohol is a huge risk-factor within many escalator-related injuries. According to data from the NCBI, 50 percent of male victims and 7 percent of female victims showed signs of alcohol intoxication.

New York City is home to some of the oldest escalators in the world. In fact, the very first escalator was built and installed on Coney Island as an amusement park ride in 1892. Since then, escalators have become a seemingly harmless part of everyday life. However, the risks of riding escalators are still present. 

Contact an Elevator and Escalator Injuries Attorney in New York

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed in an escalator accident, you have the right to fair compensation from the party responsible. Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of visitors by properly maintaining the functionality of all escalators on the premises.

Our experienced team of attorneys will do everything in their power to get justice for you. For more information about how to prepare for a premises liability claim in New York, contact a premises liability attorney from Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057.


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