$1 Million Settlement Reached for Injury to Elevator Worker Because of Safety Malfunction

A 33-year-old elevator mechanic’s helper (known only as C.E.) was working on top of a traction elevator in an apartment building in Broward County, Fla. Before starting, the elevator mechanic‘s helper engaged a safety stop switch to prevent the elevator cab from moving. When C.E. was holding onto a guide rail with his right dominant hand and preparing to cross to an adjacent elevator, the elevator cab which he was standing on moved upward, suddenly and at a high rate of speed. Three wheels that move the elevator ran over C.E.’s hand.

C.E. suffered crushed injuries to the right hand, including partial severance of his ring finger and injuries leading to amputation of his pinky finger. C.E. underwent more than a dozen surgeries to repair the damage to his hand. He later developed complex regional pain syndrome that was diagnosed to be permanent and caused swelling, burning and electric-shock-like pain and required pain medication. Worker’s compensation paid approximately $750,000 in past medical expenses and earnings.

C.E. retrained himself to use his left hand. He returned to work about 4 ½ years after the incident and became an elevator inspector. He was later laid off. He since has obtained work as a security guard.

C.E. filed suit against the owner of the building and the security company that the owner hired to provide floor-by-floor access to the apartments. C.E. contended that the security company’s employees had altered the original elevator equipment with the owner’s knowledge and consent by installing non-UL-listed parts. C.E. also claimed that those parts-access relay boards that allowed floor-by-floor access to the apartments were susceptible to interference from external electrical signals and caused the elevator’s safety stop switch to malfunction, which caused C.E.’s injuries.

The defendants argued that C.E. was the sole cause of his injuries because he chose not to engage the safety stop switch. The relay boards and related wiring and manuals and programming software were lost. C.E. was prepared to seek an order by the court that the jury could consider the lost evidence to be not favorable to the defendants. Before the beginning of the trial, the case was settled for the sum of $1 million. The attorneys representing C.E. were Gabriel Zambrano and Bradley Edwards.

The experts engaged by C.E. were elevator experts, elevator accident forensic engineering experts, a reconstruction surgeon, a vocational rehabilitation expert and a pain management expert.

C.E .v. Jackson Tower Las Olas Condominium Association, Inc., No. 04-002070 (12) (Fla., Broward Co. Cir. February 2014).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling work injury cases, construction site injury cases and car accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County and its surrounding areas, including Calumet Park, Harvey, Calumet City, Blue Island, Palos Hills, Burr Ridge, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Lemont, Villa Park, Wood Dale, Schiller Park, Chicago (Albany Park, Belmont Heights, Polish Village, Garfield Park, Lawndale, Little Village, West Town, Wicker Park, Clybourn Corridor, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast), Bridgeview, Round Lake, Northlake, Evergreen Park and Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Related blog posts:

U.S. Court of Appeals Bars Injured Railroad Workers’ Medical Expert at Trial

$3.5 Million Illinois Jury Verdict for Injured Landscape Worker After Entangled with Trenching Machine

$219,000 Cook County Jury Verdict in Rear-End Truck Collision in Construction Zone