Flash Flood Responsible for Chicago Sewer Worker’s Death

A flash flood is being blamed for the death of a sewer worker on the north side of Chicago Wednesday night, drowning the man in a surge of water, according to local police.

The 25-year-old victim was one of two workers doing repair work in a sewer in the 3000 block of North Rockwell Street last night as heavy rains hit the city. The worker reportedly detached his harness to reach a narrow area of the sewer to perform repair work when a rush of water traveled down the sewer, catching the man and moving his body more than a block north of the repair site. By the time he was found, the man had drown in the sewer.

The other worker in the area was harnessed at the time the water hit and was not swept away like the victim. This worker was able to be pulled to safety where he could alert others to the predicament of the victim and attempt a rescue. Police and firefighters responded and used a remote camera in the sewers in an attempt to locate the victim as well as searching the Chicago River in case the man traveled to the end of the sewer. After about two hours, the victim’s body was recovered.

Sewer work can be very dangerous even to the most experienced and skilled employees. Not only are these workers exposed to machinery, sewage, and animals but also the potential for a water surge, as this incident illustrates. These dangers and others are why Illinois law requires that workers in the state be provided with protection in the event of a work injury or death through insurance coverage.

In the event of a work injury, an employee is entitled to obtain necessary medical treatment and to have that treatment paid for by his or her employer. The employee may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages and for a lump sum payment for other damages, including pain and suffering. In the worst cases, though, a worker is killed on the job and may leave behind a family that is irreparably damaged from the loss. In that event, the surviving family members may be able to recover financially against the worker’s employer for the extent of their loss, though no amount of money can properly compensate these families.

If you have been the victim of a work place incident, you should know that you have legal rights, one of which is to consult with an attorney about your case. Often an insurance company attempts to settle a claim quickly and for less than the value of case when an injured worker does not have a lawyer on his or her side. When this happens, the worker generally is at a large disadvantage in terms of negotiating power.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are workers compensation lawyers who understand that injuries can affect every member of a household and can be devastating. That is why we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at 9312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442. We know that you may want answers right away and at Abels & Annes, P.C., we want to help you understand your case. There is no obligation associated with the telephone consultation and we never charge a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf. Call us today and let us help you towards a path of recovery.

Prior Blog Entries:

Construction Worker Killed on Chicago’s South Side, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 13, 2013.

Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Receive Award 10 Times Larger Than Insurance Offer Through Arbitration, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 12, 2013.


Sewer worker dies after swept away by surging water, by Peter Nickeas and Adam Sege, Chicago Tribune, published September 19, 2013.

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