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GWC Obtains Settlement for Union Carpenter Worth $1,326,682.00

union carpenter
Michael D. Fisher

A union carpenter who seriously fractured his ankle on a job site recently obtained a settlement worth $1,326,682.00 thanks to the work of GWC attorneys Michael D. Fisher and Bennett J. Baker.

Balloon Wall Too Heavy

On March 9, 2010, a union carpenter and his crew were working on a residential construction job site. Their company had been hired by the developer/general contractor to “rough frame” various homes under construction.

At the time of the incident, the carpenter and three of his coworkers were attempting to manually raise a two-story balloon wall. As the crew was lifting the balloon wall, it became too heavy for them, and as they tried to lower it back down it fell onto the carpenter’s right leg.

Compound Ankle Fracture

The union carpenter suffered a compound right ankle fracture as a result of this incident. He required surgery, including the placement of metal plates and screws to set and repair the ankle. He then underwent a long period of rehabilitative medical treatment.

He was unable to return to work for several years while he recovered. Even then, he was only able to perform lighter-duty work at lower pay, a significant career setback for a previously healthy man still only in his 30s.

Union Carpenter
Bennett J. Baker

“Best Practices”

GWC sued the developer/general contractor, who had overall charge of the project and who was responsible for job site safety.

“The developer/GC had agreed, in its contract with my client’s employer, to organize and direct the work they were supposed to do,” said Mr. Fisher.  “And one of its most important responsibilities was to make sure the site was safe for my client and others on the job, something the developer didn’t do.”

One of the developer/GC’s significant breaches was failing to create a safe work environment by not requiring that “best practices” be utilized when organizing and directing the work of the carpenters.

“’Best practices’ are what employers are supposed to direct their workers to do so as to make the work as safe as possible,” Mr. Baker explained. “These practices are actually required by OSHA,” a federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health.

According to “best practices,” both the developer/GC and the employer should have determined the weight of the balloon wall in advance of any manual lift and pre-planned a safer way to lift it, such as by using a crane, a forklift, or wall jacks.  Sawhorses should also have been placed under the wall during the lift to prevent it from falling on the carpenters if it became too heavy.

“Unfortunately, the developer/GC failed to do or require any of these best practices,’” Mr. Fisher said. “Instead, it allowed four carpenters to lift a balloon wall that was much too heavy for them, with nothing to catch it if it fell.  It was a preventable occurrence.”

Large Settlement for Union Carpenter

The developer/GC agreed to settle the case for $850,000.00. The employer and its insurance company were also convinced to waive recovery of their workers’ compensation lien, in the sum of $476,682.00. The total value of the settlement to the client was $1,326,682.00.

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.

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