An escalator over half-a-century old and a cancelled state inspection were allegedly factors in a serious accident that severely injured a 10-year-old girl. Now, a major department store chain and the company responsible for the escalator’s maintenance have agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement.
Lawyers had filed a federal lawsuit naming Macy’s Inc. and Thyssen Krupp Elevator Corporation as defendants. On Thursday, May 19, 2016, attorneys for the family of the injured child announced a $15 million settlement in the case. Macy’s owned the escalator and Thyssen Krupp inspected, maintained and repaired it, according to the suit.
According to the terms of the settlement, neither the department store nor Thyssen Krupp admitted liability in the case. The case remains sealed because the injured victim is a minor.
The accident happened in August 2013 when the Bergenfield, New Jersey, girl went on a shopping trip to the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. When she attempted to ride an escalator at Macy’s department store, her foot got caught. A bystander rushed to activate the escalator’s emergency stop button. A number of individuals attempted to free the girl’s leg, according to a nj.com story.
However, by the time the emergency stop button was activated, the escalator had drawn her leg into the mechanism to the point that her right leg was caught up to a point approximately halfway between the ankle and the knee. The lawsuit stated that “copious amounts of blood and tissue were distributed over at least 11 steps as the escalator continued grinding up against the trapped foot and leg.”
Numerous Surgeries Required
The girl subsequently endured 22 surgeries to prevent amputation of her injured foot, although she did lose two of her toes. According to her attorney, some surgeries required muscle and skin grafts from elsewhere on her body, and she sustained lung and kidney failure at one point. The girl required approximately three months of hospitalization. Following her release from the hospital, she required years of physical therapy. Her attorney says that she now walks with a limp.
Escalator Not Upgraded, Inspection Skipped
The lawsuit revolved around two key points. First, the escalator was allegedly one of the oldest in the country. In fact, it was first installed when the mall opened in 1958. The plaintiff’s attorney alleged that the usual service life of this type of escalator is 20 to 25 years, yet it was never replaced or upgraded.
Second, the suit alleged that a required state inspection of the elevator was originally scheduled for March 2013. However, Macy’s subsequently cancelled the inspection due to an alleged conflict between the time of the inspection and the store’s retail operations. The required inspection was never rescheduled, according to allegations made in the lawsuit.
Under the law, those that own or occupy property are potentially liable for certain forms of negligent conduct. Although every accident is unique, stores are typically responsible for keeping their premises safe from certain hazards. Those that they contract with to maintain equipment on the premises may also incur liability when injuries occur. When negligence leads to injury, a victim may seek compensation for a variety of losses, including pain-and-suffering, medical expenses and possible lost present and future wages.
If you, your child or another family member suffers injury due to the negligent conduct of another party, it is possible to speak with an attorney child & daycare personal injury lawyers about the matter. Our law firm provides such a consultation without cost or obligation. We fight hard to get every client the full compensation that he or she deserves under the law. To learn more about our legal services or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.