Eleven-Year-Old Girl and Family File Lawsuit Over Escalator Accident at New Jersey Mall

Eleven-year-old Juliana Valdez and her family are suing Macy’s and Thyssen Krupp Elevator for $10 million over an August 2013 escalator accident that occurred in the Garden City State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The girl’s right foot and lower leg were severely injured as a result of the accident.

In mid-August, Valdez, her mother and brother were on a shopping trip in Macy’s in Garden State Plaza. As they were riding an escalator from the store’s basement to the ground floor, Valdez’ foot got caught in between two moving escalator stairs, and she could not get it out. As Valdez’ foot and leg were being sucked in between the two stairs, a bystander who witnessed the accident pressed the emergency button which immediately stopped the escalator.

escalator.jpgValdez said, “I just remember it got stuck in the escalator. I was scared.”

The girl’s foot and leg were so badly trapped that police officers, rescue crews and other personnel had to dismantle the escalator to free the girl. She was treated at the scene and then rushed to Hackensack Medical Center, where she spent the next three months recovering from her debilitating injuries.

During her three month stay at the hospital, Valdez suffered much pain. Doctors had to perform extensive surgery to reconstruct her toes and lower leg.

Valdez said, “They said I’m going to be able to walk again and my foot will eventually heal.” However, she will have to undergo years of physical therapy, and her attorney, Sam Davis, pointed out the extent of his client’s injuries. He said, “It came as close to taking her foot as you can possibly come.”

Officials said that the escalator’s inspection certificate expired two weeks before the accident. In addition, the escalator was 58-years-old. Safety and escalator expert Patrick Carrajat said of the old escalator, “They are inherently dangerous for the public and in my opinion should be changed. Either modified or just replaced completely.”

Thyssen Krupp Elevator, the company that manufactured the escalator, is also being sued by Valdez. In a written statement, the company said, “The escalator has been shut down. We are now in the process of upgrading the escalators in the store.”

However, Juan Valdez, father of the injured girls, wants Macy’s and Thyssen Krupp to pay and be held responsible for what happened to his daughter, who will have to undergo years of medical treatment to fully recover from her injuries. He said his family needs the money “to make my daughter’s life better now because we’re going to go through a lot more things.”

Website Resource: Girl Released From Hospital Months After Escalator Accident, CBS News, November 21, 2013

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