A Massachusetts family has filed a negligence lawsuit against Simon Property Group Inc., Sears, Schindler Elevator Corp. and Botany Bay Construction after their son fell into a gap between the escalator and railing.
Tom Smith, the family’s attorney, said that he gap was “wider than allowed by state law”. Smith also noted that the plans for the elevator’s installation “called for a barrier to close the gap”. However, neither Simon Property, the company who owned the mall where the incident occurred, nor Sears enforced the plan according to Smith.
The wrongful death of 4-year old Mark DiBona spurred statewide elevator inspections by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety. As a result of their findings, they “fired two inspectors, suspended six and reprimanded 26 others after a sweep of all escalators in Massachusetts found 7.5 percent lacked barricades required to cover the gap between moving staircases and walls”.
While this case has yet to be decided, there is certainly a precedent in premises liability cases. Building owners and their retail tenants are responsible for ensuring the safety of their property and equipment. If something goes wrong and your or a loved one gets injured, then you have the right to sue. A personal injury settlement for injury or wrongful death could be obtained if the premises owner is deemed to be responsible.