The Liability of Property Owners in Elevator-related Accidents

Accidents occurring on escalators are far more frequent than elevator-related accidents. In the 1990s, the yearly average of escalator-related accidents was 4,900. Since then, the number has increased to about 10% every year so that in 2013, the number has climbed to 12,260. Children, 14 and under, and senior citizens, at least 65 years old, are the most common victims in these accidents.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that falls is first in the list of escalator-related injuries and deaths (the CPSC is the branch of the U.S. Federal government that is charged with protecting American consumers and families from products that pose fire, chemical, electrical, or mechanical hazards). From 1985 to 1999, 21 out of the 27 escalator-related deaths were due to falls.

Falls are classified either as “falls on” or “falls from” escalators. “Falls from,” or “falls over-the-side,” refers to a person falling outside of an escalator into adjacent open spaces; “falls on” or “falls down,” on the other hand, refers to a person who remains inside the elevator wellway as he or she falls.

Despite the many incidences of injuries and deaths due accidents in escalators, escalator hazards which the escalator industry has known for decades and which they can easily correct through safer designs, have often been obscured even in litigations. This is due to the overwhelming success of the escalator industry in convincing both the media and accident investigators that accidents, especially falls, are due to intoxication, horseplay, and gross misuse of riders.

It is important for the public to know that premises owners and manufacturers of elevators and escalators have contracts which require the latter to provide ongoing support and maintenance services, including annual inspection after initial installation. It is also important to note that, rather than horseplay, intoxication or grave misuse, the dangerous conditions which often lead to escalator accidents are maintenance related or failure by the manufacturer to retrofit readily available safety devices – a failure premises owners choose to overlook. These are actually nothing short of acts of negligence, the basis of many premises liability litigations and claims.

As emphasized explained by the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., elevators should be maintained correctly or they can cause people to trip and fall or even be trapped. Injuries that may arise as a result of property owners’ neglect to keep elevators in good working condition will render them totally accountable.

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Two Types of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders who never received formal riding education are the ones who often get involved in accidents. One very wrong thought of many of those who want to ride a motorbike is that learning from friends or kin is as good as enrolling and learning in a riding school. Riding a motorcycle , however, is not just learning how to balance or zigzag your way through traffic; learning how to ride safely is always the top priority.

In 2012, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received reports of 4,957 fatal motorcycle accidents and 93,000 non-fatal ones; the total number of motorcycle accidents that year was 112,000.

Every year, the number of motorcycles on the road keeps increasing, giving rise too to the number of motorcycle accidents. These accidents can either be single vehicle motorcycle accidents or multiple motorcycle accidents.

Single vehicle motorcycle accidents are the more common type of motorcycle crashes. Their causes include riding with a high blood alcohol level, riding too fast even during poor weather conditions, and failure to brake and maneuver properly, especially when rounding a corner. Thus, motorcyclists losing their balance and crashing into road fixtures or being thrown off from their bikes are not uncommon sights.

Multiple motorcycle accidents, on the other hand, result to more serious injuries and fatalities. This type of accident involves another vehicle, such as a car, besides the motorcycle. Of this type of accident, the worst is head-on collision, which often occurs in undivided rural highways and wherein one vehicle (either the motorbike or the other vehicle) is traveling on the wrong side of the road.

Most multiple-vehicle crashes are due to drivers either failing to notice approaching motorcycles or drivers denying motorcycles the right of way – situations that put drivers at fault during accidents. Despite actual accident cases that verify these situations, most drivers rather put the blame on motorcycle riders, saying that riders often careen in and out of traffic, putting their own and other motorists’ lives at risk.

According to an article in the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. website, motorcyclists commonly go unseen by drivers that do not know how, or forget, to check for motorcycles on the road. Due to this, accidents often result to life-threatening injuries due to the lack of protection of motorcycle riders and the impact created by the other (larger) vehicle involved in the accident. Drivers who put motorcycle riders in life-threatening situations should face the consequences of their action. While they may be sure to face criminal liability, civil liability is another thing they will have to answer.

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