Elmwood Park Construction Worker Critically Injured In Accident After Falling Three Stories Down Elevator Shaft At New Apartment Building
BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY (October 11, 2021) – A 23-year-old construction worker was critically injured in an elevator shaft accident while working at a construction site for a new apartment building.
Elmwood Park police officials are saying that the accident took place around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 9th. The victim was working at the top of the elevator shaft when he fell three stories to the ground below.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the Riverwalk development off River Drive to help the victim. The construction worker was taken to the Hackensack University Medical Center with critical injuries.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting a full investigation into how the Elmwood Park elevator accident took place.
Liability In Elmwood Park Construction Accidents
Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the construction industry. In fact, falls rank #1 out of the four hazards dubbed the “fatal four” by OSHA. Falls can happen in a variety of different settings under many different circumstances. Open elevator shafts can be especially hazardous. Very often workers aren’t even able to see that the elevator shaft is unguarded till they are standing right above it. There are a number of steps that can be taken to protect workers from elevator falls.
- Guardrails and curtains should be installed at every entrance to an open elevator shaft.
- All guardrails must be compliant with OSHA safety standards.
- Workers should be properly trained about the hazards they can come across during the course of their work.
- When workers must work 6-feet or higher above another platform they should be given personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
Workers that are injured on the job in New Jersey are protected by a number of laws. They may be able to seek aid through the state’s worker’s compensation system. Worker’s compensation in New Jersey is a no-fault system that helps workers injured on the job. Depending on the specific facts of any case, an injured worker in New Jersey may be able to seek justice through a third-party liability claim. A third party claim may be possible when an entity separate from a worker’s employer contributed to an accident.
There could be numerous sources of potential third-party liability for a construction accident. Construction sites are typically made up of a blend of companies that are all working together to achieve the same goal. For example, a general contractor could be liable for an elevator shaft fall due to a dangerous condition on their premises. Property owners and general contractors have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition.
Consider, for example, the case of Cupo v. Fobco. Michael Cupo was a safety foreman helping to complete an academic building at Kean University in New Jersey. He was seriously injured after falling down an open elevator shaft. It was revealed in court documents that the elevator shaft was poorly-lit. The general contractor used a foam block to avoid paying an elevator operator $200 per hour. Attorneys for the plaintiff were able to secure a settlement for their client outside of court. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any elevator shaft accident.
- Injured workers should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- A full investigation into the source of the accident should be conducted.
- A New Jersey premises liability attorney should be consulted.
Any worker that is injured in an elevator shaft fall may be able to seek justice through a bodily injury claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Even a moderate traumatic brain injury can leave victims with medical costs ranging from $85,000 – $3,000,000. A New Jersey construction accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Bergen County Elevator Shaft Fall
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to the worker injured in this Elmwood Park construction accident. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to OSHA. There needs to be a thorough investigation so that similar accidents can be prevented.
This accident raises a number of safety concerns. Was the elevator involved in this accident properly lit? Did the general contractor hire an elevator operator to protect workers? Were all OSHA safety guidelines being followed? Worker safety should always be the number one priority for any company. Without workers there is no corporation or goods and services that can be sold. Far too often companies try to increase their profits by cutting corners which can put workers at risk of serious injury or death.