What to do if our daughter’s hand was caught in an on an escalator and she was injured?

UPDATED: Apr 11, 2012

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What to do if our daughter’s hand was caught in an on an escalator and she was injured?

Our daughter looked back at her dad and brothers. She didn’t let go of the rail and her hand got caught at the end of the escalator railing as she was getting off. Her dad had to pull her hand out. She suffered 2nd degree burns. There was no visible “stop” button to stop the escalator. The store failed to call paramedics at the mall or 911 causing additional time for my daughter to suffer and trauma for our 2 boys ( 7 and 9). They only called a detective to take a report. Needless to say we rushed out of there and took her to the ER. Do we have any recourse?

Asked on April 11, 2012 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It would be worth consulting with a personal injury attorney to evaluate the situation, but you may not have a claim.

1) If the escalator was defectively designed or manufactured, you might have a product liability claim against the maker; or if defectively installed and maintained, against whatever company(ies) do the installation and maintenance. However, if the escalator was designed, manufactured, installed, and maintained properly, there would be no liability. The fact that there was no visible stop button near you does not by itself mean that there was a defect--it depends on what is considered proper for an escalator.

2) The store would likely not be liable for the injury unless you can show that they were negligent, or unreasonably careless, in some way (such as by not having the escalator regularly maintained, if a lack of maintenance contributed to the injury); without fault, they are not  liable.

3) The store is not under a legal obligation to call paramedics or 911--the law does not require people or businesses to assist others, as a general matter.

Note every time a person is injured is there a legal claim: there must be fault, and there also must be violation of some duty or obligation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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