Laborer Suffers Deadly Fall
In 2016, the deceased, a 66-year-old concrete laborer, was working at a housing development project in New Lenox, IL. As part of his duties, he and his crew would frame the foundation walls of each home. Once the forms were set into position, the crew would then pour concrete between the inside and outside forms. The crew worked from an elevated position on a single walking plank that was 7½ inches wide and attached to the forms below the top of the wall – approximately nine feet off the ground. The walking planks were not equipped with handrails or guardrails.
At the time of the incident, the crew was pouring concrete into the wall forms of a home under construction. The decedent was walking on one of the planks while setting anchor bolts in the freshly poured concrete when he was required to step up onto the top of the wall form to pass by co-workers also working on the 7½-inch-wide plank. The decedent took several steps on the top of the wall form, tripped, lost his footing, and fell down into the gravel foundation below, resulting in catastrophic injuries and his death.
He is survived by his three adult children.
Defendant Denies Liability
The family retained GWC Injury Lawyers LLC, who filed a lawsuit against the general contractor in charge of the construction project as well as the project’s developer in the Circuit Court of Will County. The firm sought damages for wrongful death and the family’s loss of society, grief, and sorrow.
The absentee developer agreed to settle the matter for $10,000.00, but the general contractor denied any liability, insisting that the decedent was the sole proximate cause of the incident. The defense filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in an attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed, citing the general contractor’s lack of sufficient control over the decedent’s work and a lack of knowledge that the concrete crew was working under dangerous conditions or in a dangerous manner. That Motion was denied.
During the continued litigation, the defense denied any liability, claiming the deceased fell because he chose to walk on a concrete form that was nine feet off the ground. It argued that he was performing his duties under the sole control of his employer and that the incident was an isolated event, and therefore the Defendant was not liable. The general contractor’s attorney also claimed that the deceased’s employer did not permit its workers to walk on top of concrete forms, so it was the decedent’s sole conduct that resulted in the incident.
GWC Victorious at Binding Arbitration
The parties agreed to resolve the case by binding arbitration, which was heard by the Honorable William Gomolinski. In what was a very difficult case, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Amato presented evidence that the contract between the developer and the general contractor established the general contractor’s control over the project and responsibility for overall safety.
“Specifically, that the general contractor was responsible for all construction means, methods, techniques, and sequences, and for the acts and omissions of its sub-contractors and their employees,” said Mr. Fisher.
Evidence was also presented by GWC that the Defendant was responsible for taking all reasonable precautions to prevent injury to workers on the project.
The Arbitrator was ultimately unpersuaded with the Defendant’s evidence and arguments and, upon the conclusion of the binding arbitration, the Arbitrator found for the family of the decedent and entered a gross award of $3,545,546.32, which was reduced by 50% for contributory negligence by the decedent.
“No amount of money can bring this devoted father and grandfather back,” said Mr. Amato, “but we are proud to have represented this fine family and obtained a multimillion-dollar award for them.”
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Construction Accident?
If you have lost a loved one because of somebody else’s negligence, you may be eligible to obtain compensation from those responsible. However, financial recovery can be difficult in the case of construction accidents, which pose some of the greatest challenges in personal injury litigation. They require comprehensive knowledge of the operations of the construction industry, federal regulations, and state law. To help increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, consider doing what so many others have done before you and reach out to the construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, LLC.
With more than $2 billion dollars recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier personal injury and workers’ compensation law firms in Illinois. We have represented members of nearly all of the state’s major building trades unions, earning a reputation as “the construction accident law firm.” These unions count on GWC when a serious construction accident occurs because they have seen firsthand what we can do.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated construction accident attorney, contact GWC today. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.