Is an escalator injury premise liability?

Escalators can be a convenient and efficient way to get from one floor to another in various commercial buildings. Although they’re safe to use in most situations, even a minor malfunction can cause significant injuries. If you’ve been a victim of such an accident in the Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, areas, you’re likely entitled to some compensation from the party or parties responsible. Read below as our De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers team discusses escalator injuries in detail and what you can do to receive compensation for your injuries.

What Causes Escalator Injuries?Escalator Premise Liability

Since escalators are relatively complex machines, several things can go wrong if those responsible for their maintenance fail to care for them properly. The following are a few common ways in which an escalator can malfunction and cause injuries to those using it:

  • Mechanical malfunctions: If any part of the escalator’s mechanical system stops working as it should, it can cause it to come to a sudden halt, speed up, or jerk repeatedly. If you’re on the escalator when the malfunction occurs, you may experience a loss of balance, leading to potential injuries from tripping and falling.
  • Slippery surfaces: Although not technically a malfunction, a slippery surface on the escalator because of a spilled drink or a recent cleaning job can cause serious injuries or worse. You might slip and fall and suffer injuries because of hitting an escalator step, falling down the escalator steps, or falling onto the hard floor at the bottom of the escalator.
  • Shocks and burns from exposed wires: Escalators run on electricity, and faulty maintenance operations may expose wires and other electrical parts. You could get severely burned or electrocuted if you accidentally touch those parts.
  • Trapped body parts or clothing: Unusually large openings and gaps in the escalator’s metal components may cause certain body parts, such as your feet or fingers, to become trapped in the mechanism. The force the escalator applies can cause significant injuries and even amputations.
  • Falls due to stair gaps: Some of the escalator’s metal stairs may be uneven and have large gaps, causing you to lose your footing and fall, potentially resulting in serious injuries.

What Is Premises Liability in Nevada?

Premises liability is the potential legal responsibility a property owner may have if someone else suffers injuries on their property because of unsafe conditions. If you visit a Nevada-based business and suffer injuries on one of its escalators because of a malfunction, you can file a negligence lawsuit against the business owner. The owner is responsible for maintaining their property to ensure safety and providing visible warnings if any safety hazard occurs.

Nevada’s premises liability laws ensure you can win a negligence lawsuit if you can prove that the escalator that injured you had a dangerous malfunction that the property owner knew about or should have known about and that your injuries are a direct result of the respective malfunction. Some of the compensation types you may be entitled to include the following:

  • Medical costs for treating your injuries.
  • The income you lost because you couldn’t do your job due to the respective injuries.
  • The future income your injuries may prevent you from earning.
  • Any physical and emotional pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries.

Furthermore, if you can demonstrate that the respective owner’s handling of the malfunction was negligent or ill-intentioned, you may also be eligible for punitive damages. These complement compensatory damages and serve as extra punishment for the guilty party and as a deterrent for others who may do the same in similar situations. Nevada also has comparative negligence laws, so you can receive damages if you’re less than 50% at fault in the situation causing your injury.

What Other Parties May Be Responsible for an Elevator Injury?

While the building owner is most likely to be liable for an escalator injury, other parties may share the responsibility in a personal injury lawsuit. They may include any of the following:

  • The escalator’s manufacturer: Some escalator injuries occur because of a design flaw or manufacturing error. In this situation, the building owner can claim the liability belongs to the manufacturer.
  • The company in charge of servicing the escalator: Escalators require specific maintenance operations at regular intervals to keep working as the manufacturer intended. The maintenance company may be responsible for the injury if it fails to keep the escalator in working order.
  • The building management company: Some building owners choose to outsource their property management by using specialized companies. If a property management firm manages the respective building, it’s usually responsible for ensuring the escalator works properly and signaling any potential malfunction to keep visitors from using it.
  • The building security company: Building owners may also hire security companies to handle all safety and security-related issues on their property. In this case, the security company may be liable for not noticing the malfunction and securing the escalator.

What Can You Do if You Suffer an Escalator Injury?

If you’re a victim of an escalator injury because of another party’s negligence, you can take the following steps:

  1. Take pictures of the entire area where the injury occurred, particularly the damaged, malfunctioning, or slippery part of the escalator.
  2. If anyone witnessed your accident, get a written statement and their contact details.
  3. Gather all available medical documentation regarding your injuries and required treatment.
  4. Contact a lawyer with experience in similar situations, such as those at De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers.

Let De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Help You

If an escalator malfunction is the cause of your injury, you may be eligible for compensation from the liable party. Contact us today at De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers and discuss your situation with us. Our experienced attorneys serve the Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, areas and can help you determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and help you build a strong case.

Photo Credit: Image by Teemu Laukkarinen is licensed with Unsplash License