GWC Injury Lawyers partners Louis C. Cairo, Michael D. Fisher, and Louis A. Cairo have obtained a $17,200,000.00 settlement for a union laborer who suffered an internal cranio-cervical disassociation injury whereby his skull detached from his vertebral column. The case remains pending against other defendants.
Plaintiff Sustains Life-Altering Injuries
In October of 2019, the Plaintiff, a 41-year-old union construction labor, was working on a project tearing up sidewalks to accommodate the installation of fiber optic cabling for a neighborhood in Chicago. During the work, the Plaintiff was bending over at a 90-degree angle, trying to pull a large chunk of concrete away from a wrought iron fence so that the operator of a large piece of construction heavy equipment would be able to grab the concrete with a Gradall’s shovel and pull it away from the fencing. The Plaintiff’s actions were at the request of the Gradall operator. For reasons unknown, the operator unexpectedly extended the boom of the Gradall and struck the Plaintiff in the left shoulder, causing his head to strike the adjacent vertical fence post while his shoulders and body extended past the post. As a result, he suffered an internal cranio-cervical disassociation injury whereby his skull actually detached from his vertebral column.
The Plaintiff required several fusion procedures to stabilize his cervical spine, as well as shoulder surgeries, plastic surgery to his ear, and other related forms of treatment. He has lost 95% of his cervical mobility to turn his head left or right, as well as the ability to raise or lower his chin/head. Additionally, he has lost his trade as a construction laborer and is very restricted in his ability to engage in physical activities.
Most of the Plaintiff’s medical care was received at Cook County Stroger’s Hospital. Medical bills paid through the worker’s compensation carrier exceed $800,000.00, while the Plaintiff asserted lost earnings claim of close to $3,000,000.00.
GWC Refutes Defenses with Key Footage of the Accident
GWC worked diligently to obtain compelling evidence establishing the Defendants’ liability for the Plaintiff’s injuries. The incident was videotaped by the owner of a nearby property who had videoed the work being done in the event his fence was damaged during the construction. The video turned out to be most beneficial, since the Defendant operator and other site workers had all previously signed a document that stated that the Plaintiff gave a hand signal directing the operator to extend the boom forward and then suddenly bent over in front of the boom’s shovel attachment. However, the video proved that the Plaintiff did not signal the operator at all!
Contrary to accepted customs and practices, and good construction safety consciousness, there was no jobsite safety hazard analysis or safety program. Workers were allowed to work around heavy equipment without the benefit of a Controlled Access Zone, whereby workers would not be permitted to be within the perimeter of the CAZ while the heavy equipment was operable, thus eliminating the possibility for such an occurrence to ever happen. Additionally, none of the workers on the jobsite had any training in work safety in conditions similar to those involved in the project.
GWC Settles for $17,2000,000.00
The Plaintiff settled with the Gradall Contractor, TES, for its $6 Million policy limits, along with a waiver of the approximately $1.2 Million workers’ compensation lien. The Plaintiff then entered into a settlement agreement with the General Contractor, MAT Construction, which was never on the worksite once work began, despite contract language requiring close supervision of the work and a non-delegable duty to oversee safety. Despite its complete absence from the worksite for this project that occurred over a period of six years at hundreds of different locations in the City, the insurance carriers for MAT agreed to pay $10 Million of their $11 Million in applicable policies following a mediation with the Hon. Joseph Casciato, Retired, of ADR Mediation Services.
“We are very pleased that this settlement provides financial security and some peace of mind for our clients who have lost so much,” said Louis C. Cairo, managing partner of GWC Injury Lawyers LLC, who represents the Plaintiff along with his partners Michael D. Fisher and Louis A. Cairo.
Fighting For Injured Workers In Illinois
Construction injuries require comprehensive knowledge of the operations of the construction industry, federal regulations, and state law if a worker hopes to receive full and fair compensation. To maximize your claim value, whether by settlement or trial, contact the dedicated personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier personal injury and workers’ compensation law firms in Illinois. At GWC, our trial lawyers have the experience, determination, resources, and reputation you need to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.
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