GWC Obtains $7.75 Million Settlement for Ironworker

On April 9, 2012,  an ironworker was working for a construction company to erect a bridge on the South Side of Chicago. While in the process of erecting a truss post, the rigging separated and the post fell, striking and killing the man. The post was required by design to be positioned between two gusset plates when erected. The truss post was not fabricated with holes or other erection aids to allow the use of a shackle. The narrow width and small tolerance of the gusset plates would not allow for insertion of the post with shackles. It was necessary for the ironworkers to use clamps attached to the top of the web to lift, move, and insert the post between the gusset plates. At the time of the accident, the ironworker and his co-workers were using “strongbacks” to perform the lift, when one of the strongbacks slipped off causing the post to fall on the man. GWC Injury Lawyers represented the deceased ironworker’s family against a number of defendants, alleging a series of failures.

A construction company had entered into a contract with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) for the construction of the bridge. As such, that construction company was responsible, along with the deceased ironworker’s employer, for creating a site specific steel erection plan, making sure that plan was followed, and adequately supervising and monitoring the work to make sure it was done safely. GWC further argued that the crane company in operation at the time of the occurrence had allowed improper “strongbacks” to hoist the post just prior to failure. He alleged throughout the litigation that the crane company should have exercised its authority to stop the lift as it was unsafe. GWC further alleged that the engineering defendants failed to recognize that the truss post as designed did not have any lifting aids or erection aids to help the ironworkers in the erection plan. Lastly, he argued the truss post manufacturer was to have assembled this truss in the factory and thereby eliminated the need of the ironworkers to lift the post.

All of the defendants denied the allegations and argued that the responsibility for what occurred rests solely with the Plaintiff’s employer. The defendants argued that the choice of rigging was made by the ironworkers in the field only two minutes prior to the accident and therefore they had no knowledge or information that inadequate strongbacks were going to be used to lift the truss. In addition, the defendants argued that the determination of what types of rigging were going to be used in the field was left entirely to the ironworker’s employer.

The litigation spanned five years including over 36 depositions, 300 exhibits, and six simultaneous Motions for Summary Judgments. The case was presided over by the Honorable William Gomolinski, who at one point issued a 43-page opinion denying the Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment, outlining his beliefs regarding the different liabilities of the parties involved. Over a series of days of negotiations involving Judge Gomolinski, all of the parties resolved the matter for $7,750,000.00.

For over thirty years, the cases brought by GWC Injury Lawyers on the behalf of injured workers have improved the safety conditions that the men and women of labor work under while on the job.

GWC has obtained record verdicts and settlements throughout the state of Illinois. GWC is a Chicago-based firm of trial lawyers that represent injured people in many different kinds of cases. For further information, call GWC at 312-464-1234.