If I fell on stationary escalators at the mall and ended up receiving 8 stitches, do I have a case?

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If I fell on stationary escalators at the mall and ended up receiving 8 stitches, do I have a case?

The escalators weren’t working so I had to climb them but the escalators going down were closed off. It was two way traffic on this one stationary escalator. A crowd was coming down as I was going up, so I moved to the side and that’s when I missed a step or something half way up and my shin hit the edge of the jagged escalator step. The mall closes at 9 on Friday and this occurred at 9:20 pm. I was on my way to see a 9:30 pm movie. I called security immediately after the incident where they treated my wound and I arrived at the emergency room at 9:52 pm.

Asked on April 30, 2012 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You most likely do not have a case. A mall or other place of business or accomodation is not automatically responsible for all injuries at it; rather, to be resonsible, it must have been at fault in some way, such as by being unreasonably careless.

The mall did not necessarily do anything wrong--escalators, like other machines, do break and/or need maintenance, and so they do sometimes need to be taken out of service. There is nothing inherently negligent about the escalator being out of service, or the other escalator being closed off. The fact that there was only one inoperative escalator serving both up and down traffic is not necessarily any more negligent or unreasonably careless than having a single staircase serving both up and down traffic. Since there is a good chance the mall was not negligent, or unreasonably careless, there is likewise a good chance there is no liability.

Moreover, even if you could establish that the mall was unreasonably careless, the injury you describe would almost certainly not justify the cost of a lawsuit--you can only recover, in personal injury cases, the unreimbursed or out-of-pocket medical costs; lost wages, if any; and "pain and suffering" for injuries which have a significant impact on life functions or the enjoyment of life, which 8 stitches probably would not. Therefore, it is very unlikely you could sue for enough to make a lawsuit worthwhile.


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