The Superior Court of New Jersey recently affirmed a $10.6 million jury award for a master carpenter permanently limited by spinal injuries suffered when a service elevator he occupied suddenly dropped two floors.
The August 19, 2005 accident happened at Headquarters Plaza in Morristown, New Jersey, when the man was 47 years old. He was leaving the building via a service elevator at the end of the work day when the elevator malfunctioned. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with a number of herniated discs in his back as well as a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The man and his wife filed a lawsuit against Schindler Elevator, alleging that the company failed to properly maintain the elevator.
Jury Awards in Two Different Trials
In 2012, a jury found for the injured man and awarded him $2.8 million. The jury also awarded his wife $950,000. However, a New Jersey appellate court overturned the verdict the following year when it ordered a new trial. The second trial commenced in 2014. This time, a jury awarded the man $7.75 million, a sum that had grown to $10.6 million due to accrued interest. Schindler Elevator then filed a motion for a new trial, claiming the awarded damages were excessive.
Elevator Company’s Motion Denied
The court denied the company’s motion for a new trial in a 25-page decision. It referred to the plaintiff’s permanent injuries, inability to perform carpentry work, depression, PTSD and emotional suffering in rendering its decision. It also analysed expert testimony that the injured man would never regain normal physical functioning.
Although every case is unique, equipment manufacturers and maintenance providers may be held liable for injuries sustained under certain circumstances. In the aftermath of an injury accident, legal knowledge is often helpful in determining which party or parties are responsible.
If you or a family member is hurt in an accident, it is possible to discuss the matter with an injury lawyer focused on relevant aspects of the law. We will provide this type of consultation to you without cost or obligation. To learn more, please contact us.