CHICAGO, IL (December 15, 2018) – On Saturday, the Chicago Fire Department received a call about a young boy with his foot trapped in an escalator at the Macy’s on State Street.
Witnesses said the situation appeared to be very serious. The boy, whose age has not been disclosed, was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital on a trauma bypass.
Chicago Police reported the incident happened near the fourth floor of the 125-year-old department store building. The escalator in question is currently off-limits and is being inspected.
According to building permit and inspection records, the State Street department store had three violations in October relating to escalator equipment. Macy’s says all violations have been addressed.
The child’s injuries are currently unknown.
Not the First Escalator Accident for Macy’s
In 2013, a young New Jersey girl’s leg became trapped in a Macy’s escalator while on a shopping trip with her family. In 2016, the family, the retailer, and the company tasked with maintaining the escalator agreed to a $15 million settlement.
Many different types of claims can be made in an escalator injury lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the escalator accident. An escalator accident lawsuit may be brought under negligence, strict liability, and failure to warn. The most common type of claim in cases in which a body part got caught in an escalator is for negligence.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year 30 people are killed and 17,000 are injured in incidents involving elevators and escalators.
When to Contact a Personal Injury or Premises Liability Lawyer
An escalator and elevator accident lawyer can determine the responsible parties through investigation and deposition.
Third parties contracted by the escalator or elevator owner to service, inspect, and maintain the escalators and elevators are also often named as defendants when an elevator or escalator causes an injury.
Escalators are used throughout Illinois in hotels, casinos, malls, commercial buildings and other structures. Whether at a retail store, a mall, or an airport, it is a convenient mode of transport, and most use them without considering the dangers they may be encountering when the escalator has not been properly maintained. Other parties that can be found liable in an escalator accident, depending on the circumstances, include the property owner, the property manager, the elevator/escalator manufacturer and the elevator/escalator maintenance company.
Challenges for Victims of Escalator Injuries
Escalator injury victims often face the challenge of accessing sufficient and accurate information to determine the cause of an elevator or escalator malfunction. In an escalator case, it is necessary to obtain all of the records relating to the device for at least three years prior to the accident including all records of previous accidents, all maintenance records, and all records of any “callbacks”. These records will reveal whether the escalator has been properly maintained. A defect may have been discovered in the construction or manufacturing of the elevator/escalator, or one of its components, and if so, the manufacturer of the elevator/escalator may be held responsible. If the issue was neglected, the operator may also be responsible.
How Escalator Injuries Happen
Elevator and escalator injury cases are complex. Usually, escalator injuries occur when part of a victim’s body, clothing, or package gets caught in the escalator.
Other factors contributing to injury often include:
- Improper elevator/escalator design or design defect
- Failure to maintain or inspect elevator/escalator
- Failure to warn that elevator/escalator was not working properly
- Failure to maintain or inspect component parts of elevator/escalator
- Failure to follow building codes
- Failure to follow elevator/escalator laws and regulations Overcapacity
- Negligence or lack of proper maintenance of escalators
Negligence, or lack of proper maintenance of escalators, are contributing factors in most escalator injuries. Usually, the system fails due to a faulty part or manufacturing error or the maintenance of the escalator has not been done improperly. Commercial and public facilities have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the people who use them. Learn more about premises liability cases here.
Hand and foot injuries are the most common escalator accident injuries, but there have been head trauma and knee injuries as well as fingertip amputations. The data from these injuries reveals that the most common types of injuries are entrapment injuries and falls. Studies and statistics show that many of the victims are children who are simply the correct height to be more susceptible to injury, and their fingers are the right size to slip into dangerous gaps in escalators.
Young Children are at Highest Risk for Injuries
Children who are younger than 5 years had the highest estimated number of injuries
Escalator designs that reduce the gap between the steps and sidewall or shield against access to the gap may decrease entrapment risk. Young children should be supervised properly and should not be seated in a stroller while riding on an escalator.
Escalators present big risks for falling, with a heightened risk for children and seniors
Injuries not caused by the reasons described above often occur due to misalignment of key components of elevators and escalators. Small gaps or uneven edges between and among the moving step and the floor often create serious risks of falling or other kinds of injury. Gaps, misalignment and non-alignment of edges of escalator steps create a serious risk of entrapment of shoes, clothes, hands and feet.
Has This Ever Happened to You?
If you or anyone you know is ever injured in an escalator or elevator accident, please contact experienced attorney Mario Palermo at Palermo Law Group (630) 684-2332 for more information and a free injury case review. You may also visit us online at PalermoLawGroup.com.