An elevator that crushed a 43-year-old discount store worker to death was not properly installed, officials said. The New York Daily News reports that the fatal elevator accident occurred when the worker was loading boxes at La Reguera Dominicana. The freight elevator suddenly lurched upward and crushed the man to death. A union representative told the Daily News that he suspects the elevator was installed by unlicensed workers. The New York City Department of Buildings has no record of an elevator at the two-story discount store.
Several people told the Daily News that the elevator was installed sometime in the last six months to a year. A close friend of the victim also said he had heard the owners of the business ask the worker to repair the malfunctioning elevator. Another worker said the owners had the elevator built to access a new storage space on the second floor hidden behind large signage. A Department of Investigation official at the scene confirmed that work was done on that floor illegally. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this worker who was tragically killed in this incident.
Elevator Accidents in the U.S
Elevator accidents are rare, but when they do happen, the consequences can be catastrophic or even fatal. According to ConsumerWatch.com, U.S. elevators make about 18 billion passenger trips a year. Those trips result in about 27 deaths annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A 2009 report in Occupational Health and Safety notes that individuals who install and maintain elevators may become injured in a variety of ways including falls, electrical shocks, muscle strains and getting crushed by the elevator.
Causes of Elevator Accidents
Several factors may cause or contribute to an elevator accident. Mis-leveling is one of the common causes of these types of accidents, particularly in buildings that are older than 1960. When the elevator comes to a stop, it is not level with the hallway floor and may injure passengers as they step in or out of the elevator. Another cause is excessive elevator speed. In such cases, passengers may suffer serious injuries to the knees, back, neck and ankles. Elevator malfunctions can cause passengers to fall through shafts or lead to incidents where the victim is crushed and seriously or fatally injured.
These types of tragic accidents can be prevented by proper installation and maintenance of elevators. The New York City Department of Buildings monitors and inspects elevators in all city buildings to ensure that they are safe for passengers. In addition to being installed correctly, elevators should also be serviced regularly and repaired by qualified, certified professionals. When an elevator is illegally installed or improperly maintained, the property owner and/or property manager may be held liable for any accidents that occur and may also face penalties from city officials.
Depending on the circumstances of the elevator accident, a number of parties may be held liable for the incident and the damages caused. For example, if an elevator accident occurs in an apartment building, the landlord or the property owner and/or property manager may be held accountable. If the elevator accident occurred because the elevator was not repaired properly, then the company that serviced or repaired the elevator can be held liable for the accident.
If a worker was injured or killed while servicing or repairing the elevator, he or his family may seek workers’ compensation benefits through his employer. An experienced New York City elevator accident lawyer can evaluate each case and the circumstances and help injured victims or families of deceased victims pursue fair compensation for their losses. Injured victims of elevator accidents can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families of deceased victims can file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator accident or if you have lost a loved one in an elevator accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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