GWC Partner Joseph P. Sorce has obtained a $1.75 million settlement for a union electrician who suffered a significant shoulder injury.
Elevated Flooring Forces Abrupt Stop
GWC’s client was a 54-year-old union electrician and a proud member of IBEW Local 134 for many years. In November 2016, he was working as a subcontractor on a construction project at a Chicago office building where demolition was also ongoing.
On the date of the incident, the client was pushing a material cart to his work location when the cart struck an elevated portion of flooring that, unlike the rest of the floor, had not been demolished. The cart came to an abrupt stop, throwing him forward.
Torn Rotator Cuff Results in Loss of Trade
The client sustained a complete left rotator cuff tear as a result of this incident. After an initially conservative course of treatment involving injections and physical therapy, he underwent arthroscopic surgery with debridement, rotator cuff repair, biceps tendonesis, and subachromial decompression with acromioplasty.
Despite his extensive treatment, the client continues to suffer from permanent physical limitations on overheard work and lifting. This impairment prevented him from returning to full-duty work as an electrician – a loss of trade that he found financially and emotionally devastating.
GWC Establishes Liability of Two Parties
“In seeking full and fair compensation for our client,” said Mr. Sorce, “we filed suit against the general contractor in charge of the construction project and the demolition contractor.”
GWC successfully argued that the worksite conditions were extremely hazardous. The elevated section of flooring that the client struck was in a cluttered work area, it had been previously covered by stored tools and equipment, and there were no warnings or floor markings posted to alert workers of its presence. There was also no natural light in the area because the windows were covered with dark plastic, so visibility was low.
According to both Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and industry standards, the flooring’s degree of elevation in these conditions posed a trip hazard, one that was created during the demolition of the impacted area. Because it created this hazard, the demolition contractor had a responsibility to protect against the dangerous condition, either by warning or remediation. By failing to do so, the demolition contractor was liable for the client’s injuries.
Additionally, Mr. Sorce was able to establish that the general contractor was also liable for this incident. During a sworn deposition, a demolition company foreman testified that an administrator for the general contractor had ordered him not to demolish the elevated flooring. In the absence of further demolition, the area needed protection, a responsibility that the general contractor shared both because it had ordered the flooring to remain and because it had overall control of the worksite. The fact that the raised flooring was in a walkway area heavily trafficked by workers further heightened the general contractor’s legal responsibility to remediate or warn against the defective condition, which it failed to do.
Based upon the strength of GWC’s arguments, the two parties agreed to settle the matter for a total of $1.75 million.
Getting Justice for Construction Accident Victims
Construction accidents are at the heart of some of the most challenging personal injury cases. Comprehensive knowledge both of the applicable law and of the operations of the construction industry is essential if a plaintiff hopes to obtain justice. For this reason, injured victims have turned to the construction accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC for over four decades.
GWC has proudly represented members of practically all the major building trades unions in Illinois. These unions often call GWC “the construction accident law firm” because they know we get results. With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, we have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to help make you and your family whole again.
Contact GWC today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated construction accident attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.