Lever & Ecker, PLLC June 9, 2016 Construction Accidents
A 51-year-old elevator repairman is lucky to be alive after an accident amputated his arm and broke one of his legs.
The police and OSHA inspectors have yet to determine exactly what caused the early morning accident. Witnesses report that a loud “thump” was heard, immediately followed by screams of pain and cries for help from the injured worker.
Emergency services arrived within minutes and removed him from the elevator. One person stated that his broken leg was at an “extreme angle”, while another person indicated that the severed arm was retrieved and put on ice in the hopes that doctors may be able to reattach the limb. Both the man and his arm were transported down 19 floors and rushed to a nearby hospital. An update on his condition has only reported that he is in serious but stable condition.
The building in which the accident took place was originally built in 1937. The elevators were only recently installed about a month prior.
New York is the very place in which the first steam-powered elevator was installed in 1853. As buildings grew taller and taller, this marvelous invention helped construction workers and visitors reach the very top without having to take the stairs.
But it wasn’t long before accidents began to happen, either injuring or killing those who were riding in or working on the elevator. The most common causes of elevator accidents include:
Doors on elevators open and close quickly, but they should respond to the motion of someone who is between the doors. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Two strong metal doors intent on closing no matter what can serious injury a person and if the elevator starts to move with that person still stuck in the entry way, further injury can occur.
Issues with speed can lead to abrupt stops. This can be caused by programming problems, timing problems, or electrical failures. Whatever the cause, an abrupt stop can throw passengers off balance and into the wall or floor.
In order to make sure that all parts are still in good working order, elevators must be inspected regularly by a qualified individual. When the building owner fails to schedule regular inspections, accidents are more likely to happen due to worn out parts and malfunctions.
If work is being done on the outside of the elevator or if the cab stops between floors and the person boarding isn’t looking, a fall into the shaft and down many stories may occur.
Nearly everything on an elevator is powered by electricity. A malfunctioning panel or exposed wiring can easily send electricity surging through a victim’s body.
This may seem like an unlikely situation, but there have been instances in which an elevator became stuck on a floor that was below ground level during a fire. The water from the sprinklers and firefighters filled the cab, causing the near drowning or drowning of those inside.
The cost of treating serious injuries can be extremely high. Regular exams, physical therapy, surgery, and necessary medical equipment is typically not 100% covered by insurance and can leave the victim with thousands of dollars in debt.
For the families of those that have passed, the financial impact can be devastating. The death of the victim can mean the loss of a contributing salary, health benefits, and more. Most families rely on the money from two working adults in order to pay the bills and the majority of Americans have reported that they would feel the financial strain of bills within a month of the loss of one of those salaries.
Thankfully, victims and their loved ones have the right to explore their legal options and to file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit. These claims give them the opportunity to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.