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Atlanta Residents Injured By Faulty Escalators

We hear about it during the busy Atlanta summer travel season. We hear about it during the busy Georgia holiday shopping season. Boys and girls of all ages being seriously injured when their little hands or feet are suddenly sucked into the openings by the moving stairs of escalators. While Marta, the large department stores and airports try to lay blame on the popular Crocs-type shoes, the real culprits are faulty escalators.

For instance, in 1996, long before Crocs were even on the market, a young boy in Houston lost three toes when his tennis shoe was sucked in by an escalator. “If escalators were designed properly and met all the standards, it wouldn’t matter that they [the injured children] were wearing Crocs,” said Scott Anderson, of Houston, Texas whose 4-year-old son was was seriously injured in the 1996 escalator accident.

Since the beginning of this year, over 140 injury incident reports have been filed with Georgia state regulators, with the vast majority occurring at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, MARTA and the various Atlanta area shopping malls such as Phipps Plaza, Lenox Mall and Perimeter Mall. Although rare, some of these incidents result in severe injuries such as head traumas, loss of limbs and permanent disfigurement. If you or a family member is injured in an escalator accident, you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney and then (through your attorney) report the incident to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”). The CPSC’s web site is www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx or they can be reached by telephone at 800-638-2772.

While not every injury that occurs on an escalator is due to someone else’s negligence, many are. If you are seriously injured on an escalator and you suspect that the injury was caused by faulty equipment or negligence on the part of the premises owner/operators (some common premises owners or operators are MARTA, AATC–which operates Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for the City of Atlanta and the Airlines, and the various malls in the Atlanta area such as Phipps Plaza, Lenox Mall and Perimeter Mall).

Robert J. Fleming, P.C. has successfully represented many clients injured on the premises of others. If you have been seriously injured, contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss the specific facts of your case.

According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, escalator injuries can occur in many ways. The following are just some examples:

> A 17-year-old Atlanta boy’s right hand was “bleeding profusely” after it briefly got stuck in an escalator at MARTA’s Lenox station in February. The boy had dropped his fare card and his hand got stuck in the escalator when he reached down to retrieve the card.

> A 77-year-old Atlanta-area man suffered a head injury in April when he lost his balance on an escalator at the Dillard’s department store in Perimeter Mall.

> An Atlanta woman’s trench coat got stuck in an escalator in January at MARTA’s Dunwoody station, pulling her down to the ground and popping her shoulder out of place, records say. She was taken to a hospital.

>In January of this year, a Cumming, Georgia woman fell while looking after her luggage on an airport escalator at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. She badly cut her ear in the fall and was taken to a hospital.

> A Powder Springs, Georgia man was found by Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport staff sitting in a chair and badly bleeding after tripping and falling on an escalator in June. Paramedics attended to the wounds on his left temple, left forearm and right shin.

> A Douglasville, Georgia woman, who was walking up an escalator at MARTA’s Five Points station in May, lost her footing and suffered a deep gash to the center of her knee. She was taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

> A child’s shoe became trapped in an escalator in May in a downtown Atlanta hotel. Fortunately, the boy was able to free his foot from the escalator before it was crushed and he escaped with only minor injuries.

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BECOME A SAFER ESCALATOR RIDER
>Be aware of where you are at all times. Anticipate stepping onto the escalator and be conscious of the fact that the escalator is moving when you step onto it.

> Don’t bring strollers, walkers or carts onto escalators. Elevators are always available for this purpose and are usually centrally located to avoid any inconvenience.

> Learn the location of escalators’ emergency shut-off buttons in case you need to stop the machine in an emergency. They’re usually at each end of an escalator.

> Keep feet away from the sides of steps where entrapment can occur.

> Make sure shoes are tied and that clothing doesn’t drag onto escalator stairs.If possible, avoid gummy shoes that tend to stick abruptly on the pavement.

> Always hold your kids’ hands and watch them closely when they are on the escalator with you. Don’t let them play games on escalators. Save the games for when you arrive at your destination.

> Face forward and hold on tight to the handrail.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Holiday Season.