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Date Modified: June 7, 2023

Unlike horizontal moving walkway accidents, escalators often involve falling and tumbling from great heights, tragically increasing the risk of mild traumatic brain injury and death to pedestrians using the machine. Escalators can cause severe injury despite being in many malls and stores. Here we discuss the problem, the varying points of view, and how to find the right lawyer for your particular case.

Ehline Law Firm – L.A. Escalator Injuries Law Offices

Escalators are enclosed moving staircases, typically moving at a vertical, angling stride up and down to different levels on a building structure. These machines will have moving waist-high guard rails at the sides. Owners and operators of escalators are common carriers under California negligence law.

Because of this, operators and landlords have a higher standard of legal care. Building managers and owners must ensure things are in working order before opening them up for commercial or public use.

Statistics show that there are:

  • About 30,000 escalators are in the country today. (Source.)
  • Plus, there are as many as 575 million escalator passengers every day.
  • Approximately 11,000 people suffer injuries on escalators each year.
  • About 27 deaths take place annually from these machines.

Our skilled attorneys at the Ehline Law Firm stand up for victims’ rights. Also, we work our hardest to ensure they get the best care.

With the higher standard, negligent parties were obliged to stop the escalator.

  • They could place an “out of order” sign and use the motionless escalator as ordinary stairs.

Does Ehline Law Firm Have An Earned Reputation for Helping Escalator Victims?

Yes, we do! Ehline Law Firm has earned its reputation assisting those harmed by others’ negligence. Our specialization in escalator cases has shown us unflattering pictures of the injuries. Escalator-related injuries cause fingers, flip-flops, dresses, and toes to catch in moving pieces of the machine.

In other words, belts, grates, trusses, tracks, steps, and handrails of the moving staircase can cause a deglove or amputation—our knowledge of the machine’s mechanics and the case study make your claim more effectively. Reach us at (213) 596-9642 for a free consultation.

What is Escalator and Moving Walkway Liability?

So we know what an escalator is. So what is a “moving walkway?’ Great question. We see them at most airports, such as LAX or John Wayne Airport. It’s just a horizontally moving conveyor belt that moves you quicker. So it’s similar to an escalator in its moving handrails, parts, and forward motion.

  • The liability for such a severe accident falls on the building owner or manager. They are responsible for the safe usage of the machine and the proper maintenance thereof.
  • If it is unsafe, it is so for the public and tenants. Airports also use escalators and a similar horizontal system for fast transport.

These machines must have handrails that keep pace with the conveyors or steps. This for people to balance while moving. Malls will commonly use large staircase-type escalators. Sometimes condos, apartment complexes, or smaller retail spaces maintain escalators.

These areas have high pedestrian traffic. So these include stadiums, airports, train stations, and the like. In subways, they even utilize spiral and tube-style escalators. Also, when multiple people get involved in maintenance, the owner or manager is responsible for the utmost diligence in ensuring the repair or maintenance is correct. No matter what, they ensure it is up to the safety code.

When an accident occurs, the owner or manager remains liable for negligence. Also, these remain complicated cases. Also, they require the steady hand of a skilled attorney, such as those at the Ehline Law Firm.

What are Some of the Common Causes of Escalator Accidents?

Owners and operators remain obligated by law to keep escalators safe. Often, human error is to blame for such an event.

Sometimes they are caused by:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Poor maintenance

These can cause failures that can cause stops that:

  • Jolt riders, including those not holding onto the railing.

Sometimes escalators face fires due to:

  • Overheating
  • Flammable lubricating oil
  • Poor sprinkler devices. (this can lead to the “trench effect.”)

So damaged and worn equipment must get updated and fixed. However, when not done, severe issues follow.

  • There are cases when the grated metal stairs have gaps.

These gaps can cause:

  • Skin and clothing to become caught.

Injuries are especially challenging in cases involving children. And this can cause you:

  • Severe foot
  • Hand or other injuries
  • Ailments include avulsion and amputation.

Overview of escalator injury causation:

  • Improper belt and parts.
  • Improper repairs and maintenance.
  • Jarring and jolting stops that are sudden.
  • Missing protective railings and side panels.
  • Entrapment of feet, tennis shoes, digits, and so forth, in “side traps.”
  • Improperly tightened parts, broken, damaged, or missing comb plate teeth.
  • Attractive nuisance.

What Are Some More Risks Specifically To Kids Riding Escalators?

Unfortunately, children are at higher risk for injury, especially those who see escalators as toys. When children misuse the escalator or are out of their parent’s supervision, severe damage can result. One of the most common injuries is due to a side entrapment hazard.

Children lean on or stand closer to the plexiglass or metal paneling as they grab onto the rail for support. Also, fingers get caught or skin ripped off in the rail belts. Also, shoes or shoestrings could become nabbed in step grates. And even with parental supervision, this remains possible.

Injuries occur when people fail to properly inspect and maintain their property for dangers in case people around don’t notice them. If a person doesn’t realize the potential danger or acts around a certain object or in a particular situation, they are more likely to be injured. Such everyday objects can cause bodily harm across the country, including those in common places of travel or shopping, discussed here.

Shopping malls are popping up all over Los Angeles. Injury cases seem to rise the more escalators are used. Elevators are used by thousands of people every day. While these conveyors are considered quite ubiquitous, there are often many injuries from these objects every year.

Riding the escalator
Mom and two children on an escalator

Escalators do pose a particular risk for children. Kids are often either not familiar with such a means of conveyance. Or they can lose digits or limbs that can be stuck in one of the moving parts. These can often occur because the companies that build, install, or maintain these machines are not responsible for their operation.

As such, poorly damaged, improperly maintained, or unsafe escalators have caused severe injuries of all types. Landlords, in particular, are targets for Pi lawyers. Furthermore, they typically have comprehensive insurance policies for the premises and assets to cover any runaway jury verdicts.

Why Is Maintenance So Important For Escalators?

Escalators, if maintained and built correctly, often function in the manner that they are meant to. However, those that leave elevators in dangerous conditions should be held responsible for their actions.

If an escalator accident has injured your child, there could be mounting medical bills and physical and emotional scarring. Furthermore, the amputation of a digit can happen. Ensure that your insurance company accurately covers the damage caused by such an accident.

So this includes all of the medical expenses, current and future. Also, the wild parties that led to such an incident could be challenged in and out of court.

What Other Types of Injuries Sustained In Escalator Accidents?

Each year, thousands of escalator accidents cause severe injuries, most commonly those with the hand or foot.

Also, cases of:

  • Severe head trauma
  • Knee injuries
  • Fingertip injuries or others remain avoided-able with proper maintenance.

What Should You Immediately Do After an Escalator or Moving Walkway Mishap?

First thing first:

  1. Find immediate medical care.
  2. Sit down with an accredited injury attorney to go over your legal rights.

Steps to take will include:

  • Taking pictures of the accident scene
  • Gathering witness statements
  • Filing a notice of defect or claim and other elements.

IMPORTANT: No matter what, call the police. Also, fill out an incident report. Make sure that all safety regulations get carried out.

Why Else Should You Hire a Lawyer Right Away?

It is important not to wait in a case like this. There could be multiple liable parties, and waiting out the statute of limitations could kill your case. A skilled attorney is vital to getting your life whole again. Don’t wait any longer.

What Are Some Other Things Attorneys Can Help With?

An experienced legal team by your side can make all the difference. So now you have help organizing a proper claim for the court. Lawyers make sure negligent parties remain liable. The attorneys will gather appropriate evidence.

Also, they will file your liability insurance claims and contact the insurance companies. Also, attorneys can determine if the escalator was faulty or recalled. The right attorney is vital in your court case. Ehline Law Firm has won hundreds of cases, winning millions in settlements for our clients.

Get a Free Case Review With a Skilled Los Angeles Escalator Attorney

Facing a loved one’s injury, you are likely unable to lead such an attack yourself. Secondly, the aid of a skilled attorney specializing in personal injury and escalator accidents allows you the compensation opportunity. Compensation is your damages awarded as money for your bills, pain, and anguish. You’re not alone, and if successful, you will also help prevent a similar accident from happening to another child by holding at-fault parties liable to pay for their negligence.

Contact a skilled attorney at Ehline Law today for more information. Also, we work on contingency. Not a penny unless we gain compensation for you. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we will come to meet you anywhere in Southern California to assist. Call us today at (213) 596-9642, or fill out our no-pressure website contact form for a free consultation.


“Riding the Escalator: How Dangerous is it?” – Louisa H. Schminke, MD, Victor Jeger, MD, Dimitrios S. Evangelopoulos, MD, Ph.D., Heinz Zimmerman, MD, and Aristomenis K. Exadaktylos, MD – U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (link.)

“Escalator-related injuries among children in the United States,” 1990-2002. McGeehan J1, Shields BJ, Wilkins JR 3rd, Ferketich AK, Smith GA. – U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (link.)

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Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

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