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Who’s Responsible for an Escalator Accident?


There are more than 2,800 escalators falling under the Department of Building’s jurisdiction. So most New Yorkers are accustomed to using these moving staircases on a daily basis. While escalators can allow people to move between floors easily and safely, they are not always without flaws.  There are many escalators that have fallen into disrepair or have a mechanical defect that can cause serious injuries and lifelong disability.

If you were hurt in an escalator accident, you may be entitled to pursue monetary compensation for your economic damages and your pain and suffering by filing a personal injury claim. However, it’s important to understand which party should be held liable for the harm you suffered.

Liability for Escalator Accidents

Escalator accidents arise in many different ways — the facts and circumstances surrounding every escalator accident are unique. For instance, an escalator can stop short, reverse suddenly, or accelerate without warning. An escalator might also be missing teeth, have gaps between the steps, or have broken handrails. If a responsible party knew or should have known about a defect, failed to repair it in a timely manner, and you were injured as a result, they may be held legally accountable.  

Importantly, there can be a number of parties responsible for your escalator accident injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, parties that might be named in a personal injury lawsuit can include the following:

  • Escalator manufacturer — If the accident occurred as a result of a design defect in the escalator’s machinery or the unit was flawed, the manufacturer may be held liable. 
  • Maintenance company — Escalators must be maintained adequately in accordance with industry standards and building code. If an escalator is negligently maintained, the maintenance company may be accountable for any resulting injuries.
  • Building owner — The property owner may be liable under a theory of premises liability for failure to keep the building in a safe condition for visitors.
  • Security company — The security company hired to ensure the safety of the building may be named in the suit if they had knowledge the escalator failed to work properly and failed to shut it down or adequately secure it.
  • Management company — If the building is operated by a management company, it may be subject to liability for failure to schedule routine maintenance, warn visitors of the hazardous condition, or properly inspect the property.

In some cases, a defendant in an escalator accident case may attempt to shift the blame to the plaintiff by alleging that their footwear played a role in causing them to sustain their injuries. However, it’s essential to be aware that this would not bar you from recovering compensation. Under New York’s comparative negligence law, a plaintiff is entitled to recovery in a personal injury lawsuit if they are 99% or less at fault for the accident. The compensation awarded would be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.

Recoverable Damages in an Escalator Accident

Escalator accident injuries can cause a wide variety of injuries that have a substantial impact on your everyday life and livelihood. Not only can medical bills quickly add up after an escalator accident, but time lost from work can lead to a significant amount of lost wages. You may also be unable to do housework, chores, and participate in the activities you once enjoyed due to your injuries. 

By filing a personal injury action, you may be entitled to monetary recovery for the financial losses incurred in connection with medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, non-economic damages may also be recovered for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and other losses that are difficult to quantify. 

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney 

If you were hurt in an escalator accident, you might be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. The personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have more than three decades of experience helping escalator accident victims in New York obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.