Broken Handrail to Blame for LIRR Escalator Death? - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

Broken Handrail to Blame for LIRR Escalator Death?

Eighty-eight-year-old Irene Bernatzky was killed earlier this week while riding the escalator at the Lindenhurst Station of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Apparently, the handrail on the escalator was broken making it impossible for the elderly woman to have a proper grasp.

In the ghastly LIRR escalator death, Bernatzky fell as she rode the escalator and was unable to brace herself, apparently due to the faulty handrail. After falling, the woman's clothes got stuck in the escalator and she was slowly choked to death, reports the New York Post.

Moments before Bernatzky had her fatal accident, witnesses say that an elderly man had a similar fall, but fortunately avoided death, reports the Post.

Escalator accidents are surprisingly common and too often result in death. Recently, there was a spate of accidents involving shoes getting stuck in escalators pulling victims into the machine causing severe injuries.

In these cases, the owner of the property can generally be held responsible for improperly maintained escalators and other dangerous conditions on its property under the theory of premises liability. For example, if the LIRR was aware that the handrail was broken, it should have placed a warning on the escalator or shut it down until mechanics could fix the problem.

An elderly man fell on the LIRR escalator. Just 20 minutes later, Irene Bernatzky fell on the same escalator to her death. It's not clear if the LIRR took any steps to warn the public of the faulty escalator. If it didn't, it could be exposed to significant liability for the LIRR escalator death.

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