Tom Crosley recently took the deposition of a state escalator inspector in one of the firm’s cases. The lawsuit arose from the malfunction of an escalator in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio that injured 19 people. During a convention in May 2013, a fully loaded two-story escalator stopped abruptly, the safety brake failed to hold it in place, and the escalator reversed direction, careening downward. Bodies fell, people toppled over one another, and at least one rider suffered a serious head injury. In doing the research for this case, we at Crosley Law Firm have learned just how dangerous escalators can be.
For example, consider the horrifying and tragic escalator accident caught on tape earlier this year in China where a mom died saving her young child after an escalator panel gave way. This incident sparked increased coverage of tragic escalator accidents occurring throughout China over the course of just a few short days. A man in Shanghai lost his leg. A one-year old boy’s arm was severely injured. A six-year old injured his foot. A mother lost her life. Then more recently in October, a four-year old boy died after falling and becoming wedged under a handrail. These were all terrible accidents, and, sadly, many of them could have been prevented with routine safety inspections and repairs. According to Time, there were 37 deaths in 2014 in China caused by escalator accidents, and a report found that more than 26,000 escalators had safety issues that had not been repaired.
Suffice it to say, China currently seems to suffer from a problem involving routine inspections and maintenance of their escalators that has contributed to serious and even fatal accidents. But are those living in the United States, with its tougher safety regulations, safe from such horrific incidents?
Well, it’s important to first understand that escalators are large pieces of equipment that require regular maintenance and inspection. However, Tatiana Morales of CBS reported that just a few years ago in 2005 there were no federal regulations for escalators and that it was the responsibility of municipalities and state agencies to conduct inspections and ensure the safety of all riders, which is largely still the case. Kevin Doherty, a nationally certified escalator safety inspector, explained, “I think a lot of people climb on these escalators assuming that they’re regularly checked, when, in fact, they’re not. They should be inspected. They’re deadly, they’re killing people, and they have killed people – and they maim children.”
Furthermore, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does not regulate escalators or their parts like they do with other large machinery like automobiles. As a result, there does not currently exist a national system for recalling defective escalator parts.
Although there appears to be a glaring lack of oversight, escalator-related deaths in the United States are actually quite rare – according to the National Library of Medicine. However, they do report that there are approximately 10,000 injuries related to escalator accidents each year in the United States and that escalator injuries are increasing from year to year. It is estimated that the majority of injuries occur from falls, but about 20% are the result of entrapment, which is usually due to faulty design. Consumer Watch reports that common defects causing injuries include the following:
- Missing teeth on the escalator track
- Loose or missing screws
- Excessive space between the moving walk area (the steps) and the escalator sides
- Broken or missing steps
In order to avoid suffering a personal injury on an escalator, the U.S. CPSC offers the following basic safety tips:
- Make sure your shoes are tied before getting on an escalator.
- Stand in the center of the step, and be sure to step off of the escalator at the end of your ride.
- Always hold children’s hands on escalators, and do not permit children to sit or play on the steps.
- Do not bring children onto escalators in strollers, walkers, or carts.
- Always face forward and hold the handrail.
- Avoid the sides of steps where entrapment can occur.
- Learn where the emergency shutoff buttons are in case you need to stop the escalator.
These tips can help prevent avoidable injuries, but many other injuries are the result of faulty escalator design or negligent behavior. If someone you know has been seriously injured due to an escalator-related accident, contact one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Crosley Law Firm immediately. You can call our office at (877) 535-4529 to schedule a free consultation or you can fill out our convenient free case review form; one of our attorneys will get back to you promptly.
Escalators. (2015). Consumer Watch. Retrieved from http://www.consumerwatch.com/workplacepublic/escalators
Iyengar, R. (2015, August 3). Is it even safe to ride an escalator in China? Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3981884/china-escalator-safety-elevator/
Know the steps to safety when using escalators. (2008, May 13). United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2008/Know-the-Steps-to-Safety-When-Using-EscalatorsSome-shoes-more-likely-than-others-to-pose-risk/
Morales, T. (2005, February 17). Danger on the escalator. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/danger-on-the-escalator/
Schminke, L., Jeger, V., Evangelopoulos, D., Zimmerman, H., & Exadaktylos, A. (2013, March 1). Riding the escalator: How dangerous is it really? The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 14(2), 141-145. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3628462/
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
What Is a Lawsuit and How Does It Fit Into My Personal Injury Claim?May 26, 2021
“I’ll see you in court.” It’s a dramatic statement, but what does it really mean? You’ve probably heard the phrase, but many people don’t really know what it means to “file suit.” You might know that it’s part of the personal injury claim process; but where does it fit in—and what does it involve? This […]
Texas’ COVID-19 Jury Trial Recommendations: What You Need to KnowOct 24, 2020
Before COVID-19, Texas courts heard approximately 186 jury trials each week. Between March 12 and August 28, 2020, there were only 20 jury trials heard in our state. Currently, there are thousands of cases waiting for a trial in Texas, and the number is growing every day. On August 28, 2020, Texas issued new recommendations […]
Courts and Coronavirus: How San Antonio Is Moving ForwardMay 07, 2020
San Antonio’s fight against COVID-19 is ongoing. At Crosley Law, we’re carefully monitoring our local government’s coronavirus response and how it impacts our clients’ personal injury claims. We understand that this is a stressful time, especially if you’re recovering from a car crash or another type of injury and need compensation for your lost income […]
Most Interesting Dan in the WorldApr 18, 2019
If you were a newly minted attorney in the late ’90s, chances are your prominent office décor featured wall-to-wall boxes of discovery and a splash of color courtesy of your PC’s tropical island wallpaper. It might have been a similar setting for Daniel M. Pacheco had he continued to forge 60-hour work weeks at a […]
Crosley Law Furthers Commitment to Excellence at AAJ ConventionJul 27, 2018
Over the years, personal injury litigation has become more and more complex. It requires working closely with expert witnesses, developing complicated legal theories, conducting detailed and careful investigations, using cutting-edge technology, and much more. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing outstanding service to our clients, the Crosley Law team sent nearly all of […]
Interns in the Legal Profession
This. Is. Sparta! You have put in the long hours and grueling study sessions, and you are well on your way towards your law degree. Congratulations! Now what? The economic downturn of 2008 caused many businesses and corporations to decrease their legal spending as an austerity measure. One consequence of this was a sharp decline […]
What Should I Expect if I Have to Give a Deposition?
A deposition can be an intimidating prospect, and clients of attorneys often have questions about what to expect. In this video, Personal Injury Attorney Tom Crosley explains how a typical deposition unfolds. Crosley explains that during a deposition, the defense will usually ask detailed questions about your medical history and the circumstances of any accident […]
Military Appreciation Month: May 2016
May is Military Appreciation Month, and Crosley Law Firm wants to acknowledge the selfless service of our military men and women, both stateside and abroad. San Antonio, or Military City USA, is home to one of the nation’s largest populations of active duty service members, many of whom work at Joint Base San Antonio. Joint […]
Celebrate Law Day 2016 on Sunday, May 1
May 1 Is Law Day Law Day is a holiday that celebrates the role of law in our nation’s history and culture and allows us to learn a little more about a specific topic in legal history. Law Day dates back to 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation creating the holiday based […]
Do Injury Claims Always Go to Court?
People frequently ask how often injury claims actually go to court. In this video, Tom Crosley answers that question. According to Tom, only a small percentage of claims end up going to court; the remaining majority are successfully settled before that point. Even among cases that do go to court, many of them end up […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.