If a person is injured in an escalator accident, there are many potential parties to sue. The owner of the business could be sued for failing to have the escalator regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired. If the owner hires a manager to supervise these duties, this person could be sued as well. Usually the owner hires a servicing company to perform these important tasks and this company could be liable for failing to do its job properly. A manufacturer or designer of the escalator might be responsible if a defect in the manufacture or design of the escalator caused the accident.
Possible Legal Claims You May Have in an Escalator Accident
Just like there is more than one party that may be responsible for a victim’s injuries, there is also more than one possible legal claim against these parties. An accident victim will generally be able to sue under one or more of these legal theories:
- Common carrier liability. In California, owners and operators of escalators are considered common carriers—entities that carry people or property from one place to another. Under California law, they must use the utmost care to be certain their escalators operate properly and safely. This means that owners and operators may be found responsible for even slight amounts of negligence.
- Negligence. Victims of escalator accidents often sue for negligence. For example, they might claim negligence if the escalator was not designed properly or was not repaired or inspected as needed.
- Failure to warn. A person could sue for failure to warn of a danger if the owner, manager, or servicing company knew the escalator posed dangers to people using it, but failed to warn the public of these risks.
- Premises liability. The owner has a duty to be certain that the escalator is safe for all people using it. Similar to negligence, if an owner fails to ensure the escalator is safe—for example if it is going too fast or the steps are not level—the owner could be responsible for the resulting injuries.
The legal claims a victim can raise will depend on the facts of his case. Escalator accident cases are complicated because of all the parties who may be responsible and the variety of legal claims that may be brought. It is important that an injured victim consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise him of the best course of action.
Have you been injured in an escalator accident? Order a copy of our free book, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, to start learning about your legal options.