Hazardous escalators and elevators are unfortunately common in commercial buildings, shopping malls and other public places. Elevators in residential buildings and rental properties can also be dangerously defective. Injuries from these defects can be quite severe.
Property owners and managers may be responsible for injuries that happen on their property because of unsafe conditions. Knowing the legal consequences and the property owners’ role in keeping people safe is important.
Property owners’ responsibilities
Property owners must maintain a safe environment for visitors and patrons. This duty involves regular inspections, maintenance and prompt equipment repairs of escalators and elevators.
Negligence comes in many forms. Owners might fail to fix known mechanical issues. Sometimes they ignore regular maintenance schedules. Not posting warning signs when the equipment is malfunctioning is also potentially dangerous. The property owner may be negligent if they fail to adhere to these responsibilities, which can lead to accidents.
Risks of escalators and elevators
Between 2018 and 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 41 elevator-related deaths. Furthermore, elevators cause around 19,000 serious injuries annually.
Defective escalators and elevators can present various hazards, such as:
- sudden stops
- doors closing too quickly
- uneven steps on escalators
- misaligned elevator levels with floors
These defects can cause trips, falls or even more severe accidents, leading to significant injuries. The complexity of escalator and elevator systems requires regular professional maintenance.
Legal options and compensation
Individuals injured due to defective escalators or elevators have legal options. They can pursue premise liability claims against property owners or managers. Sometimes, it is possible to take legal action against product manufacturers as well.
In a liability case, the injured party must prove that the owner was aware or should have been aware of the defect. They must also establish that the owner failed to fix it. This process often involves gathering evidence, such as maintenance records or surveillance footage, to establish negligence.
Property owners must prioritize maintenance to prevent accidents involving elevators and escalators. Those injured due to such defects have the right to seek compensation by filing a claim or taking legal action.