A Cook County jury recently awarded a paralyzed former iron worker $64 million in damages as a result of allegedly unsafe working conditions at a DeKalb construction site. According to the injured Monee man, studs caused him to trip while he was walking on an iron beam 20 feet in the air at a warehouse that was being constructed for an electronics company in 2007. As a result, the worker reportedly fell, landed on his head, and broke his neck. He is now paralyzed from the chest down and purportedly requires round-the-clock care.
In his lawsuit, the paralyzed worker claimed that no safety harnessing equipment was installed in order to prevent his fall. He was left with limited arm movement and has purportedly undergone multiple surgeries in an effort to regain some movement in his hands and other body parts. The paralyzed man allegedly experiences constant and severe pain in his neck. Since the accident, his medical expenses have reportedly reached $5 million.
The jury’s verdict was the largest ever awarded to a paralyzed individual in the State of Illinois. Still, the jury found the electronics company only 80 percent responsible for the paralyzed man’s injury. The jury also found the worker 20 percent responsible for his harm. Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence system, this means the worker’s award will be reduced by 20 percent. An attorney for the electronics company, which also acted as the general contractor at the construction site, stated the accident was caused by the injured man’s failure to follow his own employer’s safety requirements. He also said the company plans to appeal the allegedly excessive award.
Sadly, thousands of workers are hurt or killed in construction accidents every year. According to the nation’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, inadequate fall protection is one of the top two safety violations committed in the United States. Falls are also the number one cause of workplace deaths throughout the country.
Workplace accidents in Illinois are normally subject to state workers’ compensation laws. A third party such as general contractor or equipment manufacturer, however, may be held liable for any failure to implement or adhere to state or federal safety requirements. For example, the company that manufactured or sold a dangerous or defective piece of construction machinery may be held financially responsible for any injury that results from use of the product. Likewise, a general contractor at a building site has a duty to ensure a reasonable level of worker safety and to warn construction employees about possible safety hazards. If you were hurt in a construction accident, you should contact a skilled lawyer to discuss your options for financial recovery.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an Illinois construction accident, please contact the hardworking attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our capable Chicago construction accident lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to aid you in filing your personal injury claim. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, do not hesitate to call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 today.
Note: Abels & Annes, P.C. does not represent the victim in the above mentioned lawsuit.
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Suburban Chicago Firefighter and Paramedic Killed in Dog Attack, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, November 20, 2012
Cook County jury awards $64 million to iron worker left paralyzed after fall, by Mitch Dudek, Chicago Sun-Times
Former ironworker gets record $64 million verdict for fall, by Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune
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