Bergen County Elevator & Escalator Accident Lawyer

Getting stuck on an elevator has formed the premise of many a sitcom episode, but tragic injuries caused by elevator and escalator malfunctions are no laughing matter. These types of accidents injure about 17,000 people each year in this country, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Rider carelessness or recklessness is sometimes to blame, but more often the cause of mishaps is faulty design or maintenance. Bergen County elevator accident lawyers Aretsky Law Group P.C. can get you compensation if you were injured through product negligence.

There are an estimated 900,000 elevators in the U.S., carrying millions of passengers annually in commercial and residential buildings and even private homes. They are supposed to be inspected annually to ensure they are in proper working order, but that still hasn’t prevented tragic mishaps.

Unlike automobiles, elevators and escalators are generally not subject to federal safety regulation but instead fall under the authority of local governments. As a result, there is little publicly available information about product defects and recalls. It’s alarming that heavy equipment that poses such a danger to public safety in the event of failure is regulated this way.

How Elevators Malfunction and Hurt Riders

According to, these are some common causes of elevator accidents:

  • When the elevator’s pulley system malfunctions or some other mechanical defect causes it to drop suddenly and rapidly within the shaft
  • Doors that open prematurely or not level with the floor, causing passengers to fall upon entering or exiting
  • Faulty or inadequate elevator repairs, maintenance, or inspections
  • Wiring malfunctions that create risk of electrocution or entrapment

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, half of all elevator-related fatalities occur in the occupational context, either to maintenance workers who service elevators or people who ride them to their jobs in office buildings.  Half of all fatalities, whether occupational or occurring in a residential building, result from falls into the elevator shaft.  Getting crushed between the elevator and the shaft wall accounts for most of the remainder of fatal injuries.

A description of elevator parts manufacturers with a history of safety issues can be found here.

If you are ever trapped in an elevator that is stuck between floors, it’s imperative to call and wait for help instead of trying to climb out, which is fraught with danger. The risk of falling to your death or getting crushed is too great.

Escalator Injuries Caused by Falls, Entrapment

There are estimated to be 35,000 escalators in the U.S., making many more passenger trips annually than elevators, most located within commercial and public buildings.
Escalator injuries often happen when a piece of a person’s apparel gets caught in the moving mechanisms. There have been tragic incidents where people have been choked to death or had their necks broken when a scarf or other piece of clothing became trapped in the apparatus.

However, falls by far account for the most escalator injuries. The CPSC estimates they cause 75 percent of the 6,000 escalator injuries each year, with entrapment (getting stuck in the parts) causing 20 percent. Slip and fall accidents are the greatest danger for elderly passengers, while children more often tend to get their fingers or shoes trapped in the parts. Abrupt stoppages, though less common, are also a cause of serious falls.

Escalator malfunctions are often caused by the following defects:

  • Missing teeth on the escalator track
  • Loose or missing screws
  • Excessive space between the moving steps and the handrails or sides of the escalator
  • Broken or missing steps

Escalator technology has improved in recent decades to minimize such defects. However, consumer safety advocates still consider escalators designed and manufactured before new engineering standards were implemented in 2002 to carry risks.

Contact a Bergen County Elevator & Escalator Injury Attorney

Aretsky Law Group P.C. has experience handling elevator and escalator injury cases in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey. Call one of our elevator accident lawyers today for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
I highly recommend Eric Aretsky. He got me $500,000.00 for significant injuries that I received when my car was crushed by a truck on Route 80. This firm took care of everything for me. Bruce P.
They made this nerve racking experience very easy for me. Made me aware of every email send to court. I am very pleased and grateful. Mari L.