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Wheelchair Bound Woman Suffers Fatal Fall from Los Angeles Metro Escalator


A 64-year-old woman in a wheelchair died a day after she fell down an escalator at a Metro station. According to a KTLA news report, the incident occurred at the Hollywood/Highland Metro Red Line station on October 16, 2012. Officials say the elevator from the mezzanine area to the street level was not functioning, prompting the woman and her caregiver to take the escalator. Shortly afterward, the escalator malfunctioned sending both women tumbling backwards. The woman in the wheelchair suffered severe head trauma and died a day later. The 48-year-old caregiver suffered cuts and bruises, but is expected to recover. It is not clear if she will face charges in connection with the incident.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of this woman who has been tragically killed here. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Escalator Related Injuries

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 90 billion people ride an escalator each year and there are about 11,000 associated injuries that occur each year. A majority of these injuries are from falls and about 10 percent occur when hands, feet or shoes are trapped in escalators.

What Caused This Fatal Incident?

Based on this news report, it appears that the woman was in a wheelchair along with her caregiver when it toppled over. There are several questions that remain at this time. For how long was the elevator in a state of disrepair? Were there warnings posted for wheelchair users not to use the escalators? Did the escalator malfunction due to lack of proper maintenance? Did the caregiver make the decision to take the escalator? I trust investigators are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.

Liability Issues

In this particular case, if it is determined that MTA did not issue proper warnings or if the escalator malfunctioned due to improper or inadequate maintenance, then, MTA can be held liable for the resulting fatality and injuries. If the caregiver is found to have been at fault, she as well as her employer could also be held civilly liable. In such cases families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

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