Even though employers know they have a duty to keep their workers safe, workplace accidents still affect thousands of workers each year.
Some of these accidents are minor. A worker cuts a thumb or pulls a back muscle. After a few days of rest, the worker is able to return to the job. But, other accidents are far more serious. For example: A worker slips and falls, breaking a leg. A worker touches an exposed wire and suffers an electrical burn. A worker’s foot is crushed when a truck rolls over it.
A recent workplace accident has caught the attention of local media sources.
An ironworker received significant damages in a workplace accident matter.
A recent court case concerned an iron worker who fell off a steel beam. The fall paralyzed the man. He is now a quadriplegic. A jury recently awarded him $64 million for his damages. This is the largest recorded verdict for a quadriplegic plaintiff in Illinois.
The iron worker fell from a beam of a warehouse addition that was under construction. He landed on a concrete foundation about 15 feet below the beam. The fall snapped the worker’s neck. Now the worker is paralyzed from the chest down. He has limited ability to move his arms and some ability to grasp with his fingers. The worker requires constant medication for the excruciating pain in his neck. He requires two caregivers to provide around-the-clock medical care. These workers must also regularly reposition the worker’s body to help him avoid bedsores. He has already undergone multiple surgeries for bedsores.
The worker had been working without safety cables. These safety cables would have allowed him to hook onto the steel beams. The defense argued that the accident was the worker’s fault. The man’s employer required workers to hook a safety harness to an elevated basket, but the worker did not do so.
The worker sued the general contractor of the project. A Cook County jury assessed liability on both parties. It found the worker was 20 percent responsible for the accident and the general contractor 80 percent responsible for the accident.
The interplay of workers’ compensation and negligence laws confuses many.
Under state workers’ compensation laws, injured employees are limited to the compensation available under the workers’ compensation system. But, in some circumstances, such as if a third party shares responsibility for a work-related accident, the injured worker may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, an injured construction worker may be able to sue a subcontractor or a worker from a different company for negligence.
Have you been hurt on the job? Contact a Chicago, Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer.
Workplace accidents can result in traumatic injuries. If you or your loved one got hurt on the job, contact the Chicago workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office LLC. We will visit with you about your situation and let you know if we believe you have a valid workers’ compensation claim or if we believe you can pursue a third party claim. You may contact our attorneys by telephone at (312) 600-0000 or by email.