An Arkansas jury awarded a woman $3 million after a malfunctioning mall escalator ripped off her big toe.
The incident happened at a mall in Little Rock in December 2013, when Aisha Siddiqui stepped onto an escalator and had her foot lodged into it. As the woman’s lawyer explained, the steps of the escalator somehow dropped below the metal teeth, and the woman’s boot got stuck in the empty space. As the escalator mechanism continued to move, the woman’s big toe was torn off her body.
“She simply went to the mall, went shopping and came out without a toe,” attorney Densie Hoggard said, via ABC 4 News. “When her foot was lodged in there and was being drug forward, the machinery inside that escalator ground her toe up into hamburger meat.”
Hoggard said the mall had originally not taken responsibility, even though the escalator was 30 years old and lacked modern safety mechanisms to prevent injuries. As WREG reported, the mall and the escalator manufacturer did eventually admit fault ahead of the woman’s trial, and attorneys representing the companies suggested that she be awarded $500,000 as “fair and reasonable” compensation.
The woman had to undergo two surgeries, which forced her to stop attending medical school. Even though the incident happened five years ago, Siddiqui said she is still feeling the effects of it. She is not sure if she will be able to complete the medical rotations needed to become a doctor, which would require her to spend long hours on her feet.
After the lawsuit, Siddiqui released a statement saying she chose to bring the claim to trial because the mall had continually refused to accept responsibility, claiming instead that it was her fault.
“I never wanted to to be involved in a lawsuit, and I had to relive this horrible experience when I testified about it. It was never about the money. I did this because they were telling me this was my fault and I knew it wasn’t. My hope is that this will go a long way to helping keep public safety in the minds of companies responsible to protecting us all.”
Siddiqui added that she will be facing challenges for the rest of her life due to her injury, and hopes that the trial can shed some light on the need for proper safety measures. The mall escalator has since been replaced with an updated version that has proper safety features.