Escalator accidents occur all too frequently. There are around 33,000 of these devices operating currently in the United States, situated in airports, malls, public transit centers, and office buildings. The Center for Disease Control has evaluated the dangers of riding escalators. They found that around 17,000 injuries requiring hospitalization occur from escalator and elevator use yearly in the US and 30 deaths. We recently covered a lawsuit involving a 7-year-old whose foot was trapped inside an escalator mechanism in New Jersey.
Now, only a few weeks later, another family in Atlanta, Georgia is suing both the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and an escalator manufacturer after their 3-year-old daughter's foot was amputated following a horrifying escalator entrapment accident. The girl, Monique Simpson, was traveling with her mother at the Vine City MARTA commuter station in March of 2016 when the escalator allegedly “grabbed Monique Simpson's jacket,” and entangled her in the machinery.
Her mother immediately attempted to free her young daughter from the escalator, and, in the process, a protective guard rail broke and Monique's foot was pulled into the mechanism under the stairs. The machine crushed her toes and trapped her. A MARTA employee was able to shut off the escalator; however, her foot was so enmeshed that she was unable to be extracted until the fire department arrived and used the Jaws of Life, specialized hydraulic equipment often used in building collapses or car accidents, to remove her.
The whole ordeal took over thirty minutes and Monique was conscious, alert, and in excruciating pain for most of the process. While she was trapped, rescuers called a doctor at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston to request an emergency prescription for Fentanyl, a painkiller which is “50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.”
After being extracted, she was immediately transported to the hospital where Dr. Robert Bruce, a surgeon, evaluated her injuries. He noted the extent of the injuries, which included a highly contaminated crush injury stretching from her pinky toe to the back of her heel. In addition, “the muscle above her ankle was pulled from the bone, along with nerves and veins.” Bruce decided that the foot was not salvageable and amputated it that same day.
Monique has had to undergo multiple surgeries since that day and has now been fitted with a prosthesis. Her parents, Sharonta and Moses Simpson, are suing MARTA for failing to properly maintain the escalators in use at their facilities and Schindler Elevator, the company which manufactured this particular product for unsafe design and maintenance.
Public spaces should be maintained to a reasonable level of safety for all their patrons, especially children. If you are considering legal action to address the injuries of a child, enlist the help of an attorney who has worked on countless personal injury cases and will work to maximize the reward that will improve the quality of your child's life. Call Gilman & Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online for a free case evaluation.