Lever & Ecker, PLLC November 11, 2016 Construction Accidents
Everyone knows that construction work is hard and physically demanding, but few outside of the industry realize how truly dangerous it is. Even the most seasoned professionals who have “done it all and seen it all” are always at risk, especially when the are working around elevator shafts.
On Tuesday, November 1st, 2016, a 42-year-old elevator mechanic who was working at a Brooklyn construction site, became the most recent victim of an on the job fall. No one witnessed exactly what happened, however, other workers said that they heard a loud noise and when they went to investigate, found the mechanic lying unconscious in the unfinished basement of the building.
It was determined that he had fallen seven stories down the elevator shaft, his body breaking through 2-by-6 planks of wood and plywood on the way down.
He luckily survived the fall, however, he sustained multiple serious injuries, fracturing bones in both of his arms and legs. In fact, according to the GoFundMe page started on his behalf, doctors have reported that it is a miracle he is alive and that he fractured the majority of the bones in his body. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and has already undergone multiple surgeries.
At the time of his accident, it was only his second day on the job.
The NY Department of Buildings (DOB) pulled all workers from the jobsite and began a safety investigation. At this time, all that has been determined is that the victim was wearing a safety harness and hat, however, investigators have not indicated that the harness was properly tied off. Coworkers who witnessed the accident reported that the victim was standing on a wooden plank which broke, sending him plummeting to the basement.
Just one month before, the company that was overseeing the work on the new building has been issued a stop-work order by the DOB for failing to use proper safety standards. In fact, the contractor had over $800,000 in fines from safety violations and were in danger of losing their license. The owner of the building hired a new contractor, MZ Builders LLC., in order to get the DOB to lift the stop-work order.
While it is a great relief to know that the worker is expected to recover, both he and his loved ones are likely already feeling enormous stress over the potential financial setback this might have on their lives.
In the U.S., the cost of treating one broken bone is high. Without health insurance, a broken arm averages more than $16,000 and a broken leg can cost up to $35,000. Now imagine if more than 50% of the 206 bones in your body had been fractured – the cost of medical treatments needed skyrocket.
To make matters worse, his wife has indicated that their family home is nearly two hours away from the hospital that he was moved to for further treatment. In order to be by his side during this traumatic time, she will need to pay for a hotel room and take time off of work.
Thankfully, his employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance which is supposed to cover any medical bills that directly related to the injuries he sustained in his fall. It doesn’t matter that it was only his second day on the job – coverage starts immediately. But coverage isn’t always as easy to obtain as it should be.
Any number of issues can reduce the amount paid out by the insurance company or delay payment. Mistakes on claim forms, employers who contest claims, and insurance adjusters who work to save their company money are just a few of the challenges that any injured worker may face. The best way to ensure a timely and complete payment is to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from the very beginning.
In most cases, an employer is simply trying to save money. If workers’ compensation claims are denied, then their premiums won’t go up. It’s that simple. Employers typically claim that the employee was not acting the scope of their job at the time of the accident, which is one of the few reasons that a workers’ compensation claim can be denied.
Another reason why it is important to contact an attorney is that they can inform you if there are other ways to obtain compensation for losses other than medical expenses. The most common way to get losses for lost income, emotional trauma, and loss of consortium is to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
These lawsuits are typically filed against a third-party whose negligence resulted in the accident and death of a worker.