Unless we live our entire lives on one level, we often have to get from one floor to another, whether it be from our 7th floor condo or one level of the mall to another. We dont even think about the possible dangers of moving from one level to another, as we either walk the stairs, take an elevator or ride an escalator.
Yet all three of these modes of moving up or down can present significant risks for slip and fall accidents. If you have slipped and fallen down a stairwell, exiting an elevator or getting on or off an escalator, dont attribute your mishap to bad luck or poor coordination. Contact a personal injury attorney about the possibility of legal action to hold property and business owners accountable.
Property owners are liable for slip and fall accidents on stairs if a dangerous surface or item is underfoot. In stairwells, that can mean many possible scenarios: a cleaning person leaving a bucket on the stairwell, a floor polished in a stairwell with no warning signs to be cautious, or a construction crew leaving tools on the stairs as it works.
The criteria for being held liable in a stair slip and fall are the same as for other types of slip and fall accidents: the owner needed to have known of the danger and done nothing, or the owner should have known of the danger because a reasonable person caring for the stairs would have discovered the danger and eliminated it.
- The dangers posed on stairs are numerous and different than on other surfaces, such as:
- Worn carpet on a stair that makes the surface especially slippery or with a tear or bump that?almost guarantees a trip
- Worn wood on some stairs can make slipping almost inevitable
- Some tiles and highly polished wood stairs can be nearly as slick as ice
Real ice and other weather hazards can accumulate on certain stairs that are exposed to the elements. Some stairs with worn surfaces allow water to easily accumulate and to form puddles?on them. When these puddles freeze, the stair simply cannot be walked on without extreme caution, almost inviting a slip and fall.
Uneven stairs are a common source of slip and fall accidents. There are local building codes?that require stairs to have minimum and maximum depths and widths. If you can prove that the?stairs you slipped on did not meet such codes, your case has a good chance. Even ? of variance can make a huge difference when walking up or down stairs.
Many building codes also require handrails, and if it can be proven that the stairs in question should have had a handrail, you also have a good chance of winning. Handrails are to be of a?certain width and height, and many of them become loose without the property owner knowing?it, creating another hazard to negotiating stairs.
Elevators, like escalators, can be extremely dangerous if they are not maintained properly. Each year, about 30 people die riding elevators, and another 17,000 are injured. The persistent issue with elevators is when they do not stop precisely at the same level of the floor, creating an instant possibility for a trip and fall accident when riders either exit or enter the elevator.
Some riders also slip on elevator floors that have been recently cleaned or have liquid on them that has accumulated as riders have brought rain, snow and slush indoors. Other hazards include elevators that speed up or slow down abruptly, or even stop suddenly. In rare and often fatal cases, elevator doors open when the car is not anywhere near floor level.
Those who are most frequently injured are the elderly, and they most often damage soft tissue or fracture their hips in elevator accidents. Children and teens are also vulnerable.
- Several entities can be found at fault if you have slipped or tripped and fallen in an elevator:
- The owner of the building can be found liable
- The building manager can be at fault
- The company charged with maintaining the elevator can be held responsible
- The manufacturer of the elevator could be at fault
With these four parties possibly held liable, you have a good chance at receiving compensation for your medical bills, lost work time or pain and suffering if you contact a competent slip and fall attorney. Start your case today by calling us at 215 735 4800
Escalators can be tricky to ride, as anyone who has ever gotten on one without paying close attention can attest. Even if a shopper in a mall carefully gets on an escalator, there is no guarantee that it will not have sudden, unexpected movements that can jerk its riders and send them tumbling, often onto one another and onto hard, metal stairs in other cases.
Riders clothes or jewelry also sometimes get stuck in an escalators moving parts, creating the possibility for an accident. Children are especially prone to this type of incident.
Americans take 90 billion escalator trips every year, so its amazing that more accidents do not occur. Even so, about 11,000 mishaps take place each year on escalators, and an average of 3,000 older adults are hurt as a result.?
Property owners are required by law to be vigilant regarding escalator safety and maintenance. In many cases after escalator accidents, both parties are at fault and comparative fault is brought into play as a rider is found partially liable for climbing a descending escalator, for instance. However, more and more courts are holding owners to a high standard, given the treachery of escalator accidents. In these cases, it does not even have to be shown that the escalator owner was negligent to hold him/her to strict liability in escalator accidents.
If you have tumbled on an escalator, contact a skilled slip and fall attorney immediately to pursue your case.