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GWC Secures Settlement Worth Over $2 Million for Union Sheet Metal Worker

Union Sheet Metal Worker
Michael D. Fisher

GWC Partners Michael D. Fisher and Joseph P. Sorce have secured a settlement worth over $2 million for a union sheet metal worker who was seriously injured when he fell through the deteriorated roof of a bowling alley.

A Fall Through a Roof

GWC’s client, a 46-year-old sheet metal worker, was working on a large construction project on the roof of a northwest suburban bowling alley, replacing old HVAC units and installing new ductwork. The plywood roof deck was badly deteriorated and undergoing construction, unbeknownst to the worker. While he was walking on the plywood deck, which had been left exposed, it partially collapsed, causing him to fall through the roof to his shoulders.

Three Surgical Procedures

The worker suffered significant injuries to his right arm, including fracture and dislocation of the elbow, tearing of the wrist, and ligament damage. His injuries were so severe that he had to undergo three separate surgical procedures: a radial head implant, a ligament reconstruction, and nerve decompression and wrist arthroscopy.

Union Sheet Metal Worker
Joseph P. Sorce

Loss of Trade

Despite his surgeries, as well as extensive physical therapy, the client continues to suffer from elbow and wrist instability. Because of his condition, he is unable to return to the extremely physically demanding job of a union sheet worker.

“This had been the man’s trade for decades,” said Mr. Fisher. “It was a huge blow to him emotionally.”

It was also a huge blow to him financially. Because of his ongoing physical limitations, he has had to start working as a school bus driver, which pays significantly less money than his former job – a loss of income of more than $830,000.00.

Multiple Parties at Fault

In prosecuting the case for their client, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Sorce were able to determine that there were three parties at fault: the owner/construction manager, a roofing contractor that it had hired to remove the existing roof membrane, and a carpentry contractor that it had hired to remove and replace the rotted plywood decking.

“Though the owner and the two roofing contractors all knew how badly deteriorated the roof deck was,” said Mr. Sorce, “none of them warned our client. They also did not mark or barricade it, put up a safe temporary work space, or schedule our client’s work so he could it safely. He was walking into a dangerous situation he knew nothing about.”

Defenses Overcome

The attorneys for the defendants hired five expert witnesses at great cost to argue that the sheet metal worker’s injuries were the result of a prior fall. The defendants also claimed that, even if the worker had been injured because of the incident, he was at fault for being on the roof.

GWC was able to counter the defense’s claims, and Mr. Fisher and Mr. Sorce further rejected a judge’s recommendation to settle the case for $1,000,000.00 and to repay a workers’ compensation lien. The case was ready for trial the next day when the defendants significantly increased their offer.

Settlement Worth More than $2 Million

The defendants agreed to settle the sheet metal worker’s case for $1,800,000.00. GWC also convinced his employer’s workers’ compensation carrier to waive its own $365,678.23 lien on the case. Obtaining this waiver brought the client a net gain of $2,165,678.23.

Chicago Construction Accident Attorneys

Construction accident lawsuits are some of the most complex cases in personal injury litigation. They demand comprehensive knowledge not only of the applicable law but also of the construction industry and its operations.

In this respect, you can be assured of quality representation when you contact the Chicago construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm. GWC is often called the construction injury law firm. In fact, building trades unions and organizations often turn to the Chicago construction accident attorneys at GWC when a member is injured.

If you or your loved one has been injured, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.