Countless shopping malls, department stores, and business centers feature escalators. In fact, escalators are such a common and familiar design feature that most of us never think twice when stepping on board. Yet while escalator accidents are uncommon, they have the potential to cause disabling or even fatal injuries on the rare occasions where they do occur.
If you, your child, your spouse, or one of your family members was injured while riding an escalator in the Oklahoma City area, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Depending on what caused your accident to occur, you could be entitled to compensation for your current and anticipated medical bills, hospital bills, surgery costs, income losses, pain and suffering, and other hardships resulting from your injuries.
To learn more in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the escalator injury attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. We have more than 75 years of combined experience fighting for compensation on behalf of injury victims throughout the Oklahoma City area, including Norman, Moore, Edmond, Mustang, Shawnee, El Reno, and more.
Common Injuries Caused by Defective and Malfunctioning Escalators
In 2013, the peer-reviewed medical journal Western Journal of Emergency Medicine released a detailed study called “Riding the Escalator: How Dangerous is it Really?” In an effort to answer that question, researchers examined more than a decade’s worth of data on escalator accidents and resulting hospital admissions. The study focused on 173 patients, who collectively sustained nearly 300 injuries. Researchers conducting the study uncovered the following facts:
- Roughly 10,000 people are hospitalized for escalator-related injuries every year in the United States. That figure, which averages out to approximately 27 injuries per day, is roughly equivalent to the population of Guthrie.
- The majority of all escalator accidents – more than 90% – occurred in one of two settings:
- Public transportation centers (62%)
- Shopping centers (30%)
- Females were most likely to sustain leg injuries or foot injuries. Males were more likely to suffer head injuries or neck injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is sometimes referred to as craniocerebral injury. About 40% of both males and females sustained multiple injuries, while about 10% suffered hip fractures. Other common types of injuries caused by escalator accidents included:
- Broken bones/bone fractures
- Dislocation injuries
- Soft tissue injuries (e.g. sprains, strains, torn ligaments)
- Torso injuries
- Roughly half of the patients examined by the study were injured severely enough to require hospitalization. Among those who were hospitalized, about 45% were stable enough to be discharged within 24 hours, while the remaining 55% required prolonged care.
- Elderly individuals are more susceptible to escalator injuries than people in other age groups. Over 60% of the women and nearly 45% of the men examined in the study were at least 60 years old when their accidents occurred.
- Women were most likely to be injured on Tuesday afternoons, while men were most likely to be injured on Saturday nights.
- One out of the 173 individual patients examined in the study died from their injuries. The fatality was caused by intracranial bleeding, also called intracranial hemorrhage, where blood pools in the cranial vault after a blood vessel is ruptured by physical trauma.
Negligence and Premises Liability: Who is Responsible When an Accident Occurs?
Like all machines, escalators require regular inspection and maintenance in order to minimize the risk of a breakdown or malfunction occurring. When property owners decide to cut back on the frequency or quality of maintenance work in order to save themselves money, potentially serious accidents become all but inevitable. Common escalator defects and malfunctions include:
- Abrupt acceleration or deceleration, which can cause an accidental fall to occur.
- Design flaws, such as excessively steep angles, or large gaps between the escalator stairs and floor.
- Lack of safety railings, or railings that are too low to effectively prevent passengers from falling over the open side.
Property owners in Oklahoma have a legal duty to keep their buildings reasonably safe for customers and guests. This entails making reasonable, timely maintenance efforts that will reduce the risk of foreseeable deaths and injuries occurring. If a property owner is aware that a hazard exists or is developing on his or her property – for instance, a defective escalator – he or she could potentially be liable for any deaths or injuries resulting from the failure to repair or at least isolate the hazard while repairs are made. This concept is known as “premises liability,” where “premises” refers to property while “liability” refers to fault for a preventable accident.
Suffered a Severe Injury on an Escalator? One of the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorneys at Hasbrook & Hasbrook Might Be Able to Help
If you were injured on the escalator at a mall, airport, department store, or any other location in the Oklahoma City area, you should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about getting compensated for your accident. To schedule a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook right away at (405) 698-3040. We will keep your information confidential.