Elevator accidents can inflict catastrophic injuries or even kill a worker at a construction site in New York. If you were injured in an elevator accident, it may be appropriate to sue under New York Labor Law 241(6). Recently, a falling elevator at a charter school under construction in the Bronx dropped four stories from the fourth floor to the ground. It killed a construction supervisor, while also seriously injuring the worker who was with him in the elevator cab. Both were carrying construction debris at the time.
The elevator accident occurred early in the morning. The construction crew was present at the site to convert the building into a charter school. Among other permits, the contractor had a permit to work on the elevator of the existing building. However, back in 2019 at the same site, workers fell twenty feet to their deaths through an opening in the second floor. Additionally, the construction site was temporarily shut down over the last year because their construction permits had expired.
Afterward, a stop-work order was placed on the site as the Building Department investigated the accident. Workers at the same site reported they didn’t know what had caused the elevator to drop. One worker said there were always proper safety measures taken at the site. However, as it should, the Building Department promised there would be a thorough investigation to determine whether the elevator accident occurred because safety rules were ignored.
The charter school construction accident was the first of two tragic elevator accidents to kill a worker in the city within a week. In the other accident, a construction worker was killed after falling down an elevator shaft from the sixth floor to the second floor of a building under construction. As with the first accident, officials issued a stop-work order to investigate.
Contractors and building owners are required to follow special laws enacted to protect workers. New York Labor Law 241-A provides that workers in elevator shaftways should be protected by sound planking of at least two inches thick set down across the opening. These planks need to be no more than one story below or two stories above the workers. Workers should also be protected by any other means specified in the rules of the board.
Part 23 also provides intricate rules that must be followed in connection with elevators at construction sites. If you are a worker at a construction site where the owner or contractor failed to follow these rules, and you were injured as a result, you may have grounds to sue. In general, workers’ compensation benefits are not enough to take care of a worker who was seriously injured or his family, in the event that he dies in an elevator accident. However, New York Labor Law 241(6) and 241-A provide for the possibility of recovering damages in a lawsuit. This doesn’t fully make up for a catastrophic injury or death, but it can help an injured worker or family struggling in grief after a loved one’s death.
In the course of an investigation following an elevator accident, officials may find rules were violated. Depending on the city, civil penalties may be imposed. However, the worker or his family may also have grounds to sue for damages where a violation of section 241-A was found. A lawsuit may also be brought under section 241(6), if building officials investigate and find violations of Part 23 caused the worker’s injuries or death in the elevator accident.
If you were injured in an elevator accident, you should call Mark Siesel. Mark Siesel is a seasoned White Plains construction accident lawyer who fights for injured workers and their families in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, along with Westchester, Putnam, Kings, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Rockland, and Ulster Counties. He has 35 years of experience as a litigator. Contact him at (914) 428-7386 or complete our online form.