Nearly everyone understands the hazards that movers face when they go to work every day. Lifting injuries from moving heavy loads, punctures from sharp objects, and slip and fall injuries plague movers on a daily basis. But one of the last things that any mover anticipates is that the elevator which is supposed to help lighten their load will cause them harm.
On the day of his accident, the plaintiff was working in a high-rise in Manhattan. He had successfully loaded a chair and a sofa into the elevator on the ground floor and had started the journey to the upper levels.
At around the fourth floor, without warning, the elevator jumped and came to a sudden stop. The force of the unexpected movement caused him to fall. After he stood up, the elevator suddenly dropped and fell again, causing him to once again fall. Then, the elevator remained frozen and he had to await rescue for more than three hours.
After being rescued, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was diagnosed with injuries to his shoulder, neck, and back, caused by the falls inside the elevator. Over the next several years, his treatments included physical therapy, trigger point injections, arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, a discectomy, and fusion of his spine. He alleges that these injuries and the side effects of the surgery have left him with a limited range of motion and physical restrictions that prevent him from working. He was just 23-years-old at the time of the accident.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building, alleging that the elevator had malfunctioned in the past due to a door misalignment and dirt in the track had caused the misalignment. He further alleged that six months prior to his accident, a similar problem had occurred and that the building owners were well aware of the issue and the cause.
In his complaint, he sought compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earnings.
In response, the defense claimed that his injuries were sustained prior to the issues with the elevator and that he was exaggerating how limited his physical capabilities are.
The case did go to trial after the plaintiffs turned down an offer to settle for $100,000. After each side presented their cases in a 15-day trial, the jury determined during three hours of deliberations that the defendants were at fault and awarded the plaintiff $6.06 million in damages.
It is true that the majority of workers in any industry in New York are covered by workers’ compensation if they sustain an on the job injury. But despite the fact that this insurance coverage is supposed to help any injured worker even if they contributed to the accident that caused their injury, a disturbing number of workers’ comp claims are denied - nearly 50%.
Even if the claim is approved, payments will only cover medical expenses for a set period of time and at most, the worker will recover only a fraction of their lost wages. For a 23-year-old whose whole life is ahead of them, workers’ compensation can’t even begin to ease their financial suffering.
That’s why so many people also choose to pursue a NYC work accident lawsuit.
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property so that any residents or visitors are kept from harm. Regular inspections of the property should occur and if a hazard is discovered, then an immediate repair needs to be made or signs placed around the area warning of the issue. When a known hazard requires additional maintenance, like cleaning the track of an elevator so that dirt doesn’t accumulate, the owner is responsible for making sure that occurs. If they fail to do so, they can and will be held legally liable.
Our team of attorneys understands how stressful this time can be and that many of our clients come to us concerned about their finances. That’s why we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee. Our fee is discussed upfront and then, only when the client obtains compensation through a settlement or successful verdict, do we get paid. If we don’t win the case, we don’t get paid. That way, our clients have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
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