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Escalator and Elevator Accidents

Boston Personal Injury Lawyers Experienced in Elevator Accidents and Escalator Injuries

Victim of an elevator accident Massachusetts has thousands of elevators and escalators in public and private buildings, including in apartment complexes, college dorms, shopping malls and workplaces. Under state regulations, these must be regularly inspected to ensure they are safe and being properly maintained. Despite these safeguards, property owners and elevator companies can prioritize money over safety at times. Each year, thousands of people in the U.S. are injured on defectively designed, inadequately inspected, or poorly maintained elevators and escalators. Many accidents result in serious injuries and wrongful death.

Boston Elevator Accident Lawyers - Free Legal Consultation: 800-379-1244
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator or escalator accident, learn your legal rights. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers have over 100 years combined experience representing clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries or been killed by defective property conditions. Our attorneys have experience investigating elevator accidents and holding the companies accountable for our clients' injuries. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Elevator and Escalator Accidents in Boston and Massachusetts

Elevators and escalators are used daily and should be properly tested and maintained at all times. But this is not always the case and there have been several recent accidents in Massachusetts:

Child Killed on Mall Escalator. A 4-year-old child died after falling from a second-floor escalator at the Auburn Mall in March 2011. There was an opening between the plexiglass and the escalator and the boy was pulled through by the escalator guardrail. He fell 18 feet onto a display case, according to the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. The boy died the next day and his parents filed a negligence lawsuit against several parties, including the mall owner, the escalator manufacturer and the department store where the accident took place. 

Woman Killed By MBTA Escalator. In 2009, an 82-year-old woman was found trapped with her clothing caught on a moving escalator at the State Street MBTA Station, according to The Boston Globe. When she was discovered by a passerby, the escalator was shut off and her clothes were cut free. But it was too late. The woman was later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital. The state medical examiner determined the cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation.  

Red Sox Elevator Injury. A 22-year-old woman suffered a traumatic brain injury and facial and spinal fractures when she fell more than 20 feet down an elevator shaft at Fenway Park in May 2014, according to The Boston Globe. Later that year, her family filed a civil complaint against Fenway Sports Group and Otis Elevator Company, stating the elevator door was inadequately installed and improperly maintained. The lawsuit stated she had incurred over $250,000 in medical expenses and there would be future expenses. She also suffered lost income and was left with a diminished working capacity.

Facts About Elevator and Escalator Accidents

While these accidents are all very serious, the risk for injury and death is greater on elevators which are defective or not maintained. In the United States, 31 people are killed each year on elevators and escalators and 17,000 people are injured (according to a data analysis by the Center for Construction Research and Training). These numbers came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2007-2009 and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2006-2010.

Elevator accidents cause about 90 percent of deaths and 60 percent of serious injuries, according to the center. Half the deaths are to individuals working on or near elevators, including those who do installation, repairs and work in or near elevator shafts. Members of the public, who may have no warning of a hazard, can also be seriously injured. When this happens, those responsible can be held liable for their injuries.

Common Causes of Escalator Accidents

There are several causes of escalator accidents. 

  • Improper installation, including missing parts and side panels
  • Sudden stops
  • Loose or missing parts, such as the metal teeth known as "comb plates"
  • Inadequate maintenance and failure to conduct regular elevator inspections
  • Work in elevator shafts
  • Side entrapment involving soft shoes such as Crocs

Unfortunately, many escalator accidents involve young children, who are attracted to the moving parts on the escalator, but are too young to appreciate the dangers of the machine. Children are also more frequently victims inside entrapment cases, since they stand closer to the side panels when trying to hold onto the railing. Their shoes or body parts can get caught in the moving parts. 

Common Causes of Elevator Accidents

Most elevator accidents result from a few common causes:

  • Elevator falls or drops
  • Improper door movements or defective safety strips on doors
  • Car landing incorrectly, either above or below designated floor
  • Improper design
  • Improper maintenance
  • Elevator accidents can be extremely complex due to the complicated design of the moving parts as well as the complex electronic controls.

What You Should Do if You are Involved in an Elevator or Escalator Accident

Of course, the most important thing to do after an accident is to seek immediate medical care for any injuries. The owner of the property should be immediately notified of the incident. The incident should be reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

It is important to promptly hire a qualified and experienced elevator and escalator accident attorney. Your attorney will undertake a prompt factual investigation, identify and contact witnesses, preserve essential evidence, and make claims and notify insurance companies.

Hire an Experienced Elevator and Escalator Accident Lawyer

The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston are experienced in handling complex personal injury and premises liability cases, including serious escalator and elevator accident cases. Our firm has the experience, the knowledge and the resources to best handle any elevator or escalator accident case resulting in personal injury or wrongful death. We have been consistently recognized as among the top personal injury lawyers in Boston, including by Top 100 New England Super LawyersTop 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialties of personal injury and medical malpractice. This list appears annually as a supplement in Boston Magazine.

Initial consultation with our firm is always free, and our cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. Please call our toll free number at 800-379-1244, or use our contact form.

We look forward to representing you on your case.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
David really cared about me as an individual…and he really cared about seeking the justice that needed to be sought in the case. Peter
★★★★★
Ron got the insurance company to settle for the maximum on the policy. And so as a result of that, my son went back to school. Jeff
★★★★★
Marc just guided us through the whole process. He told us exactly what would happen and how we needed to go about doing everything. Jesenia
★★★★★
I would recommend David…The outcome of my case, I was very pleased with it. I hope I don't have another accident, but if I do we'll be back to see David. Paul
★★★★★
Ron was excellent. He was on top of everything. He answered every question. John
★★★★★
Marc was extremely professional. I felt very confident that he knew exactly what he was doing. This is his area of practice and I had total confidence in him and I actually have recommended him to other people who have been in accidents. Josh