Flimsy Attic Floor Injures Peoples Gas Worker
GWC’s client was a 45-year-old Peoples Gas worker and a proud member of the Gas Workers Union, Local 18007. In April 2017, he was working as a first responder service technician when he experienced a devastating knee injury during an emergency call.
The client arrived at the job site, a Chicago two-flat apartment building, to activate a tenant’s gas lines located in the attic. Unbeknownst to the Peoples Gas worker, a portion of the attic floorboards immediately adjacent to the water tank needing service had been removed and replaced with flimsy wooden paneling. This paneling mimicked the appearance of the surrounding floorboards but was approximately a quarter of an inch thick and not made with construction-grade lumber. The paneling was visually “indistinguishable” from the surrounding flooring and appeared weight-bearing.
While approaching the water heater, the Peoples Gas worker could not see the difference between the thin wooden paneling and the floorboards. When his left foot landed on the paneling, he reasonably expected it would support his weight. Instead, his foot went directly through the paneling and twisted medially as he fell onto his left knee.
Torn Meniscus Requires Surgery
After a lengthy course of non-surgical treatment in the face of significant approval delays from his employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, the client finally underwent surgery for his left torn meniscus in October 2018. This delay in care worsened his knee’s condition and negatively affected his long-term prognosis.
Three months later, the client re-tore his medial meniscus when he slipped on ice while exiting his physical therapist’s office. The workers’ compensation insurer denied a second surgery for this re-injury.
GWC Refutes Defense With Expert Testimony
GWC filed suit against the owner of the two-flat, arguing that the client’s injuries were the direct result of the flooring not being in a reasonably safe condition for him to perform his work.
“The condition of the attic floor was an accident waiting to happen, and the Defendant failed to dutifully ensure the attic was safe for our client,” said GWC attorney Bennett Baker.
The Defendant refused to accept liability, denying prior knowledge of the attic paneling. The Defense also argued that the client’s second injury had nothing to do with the first accident.
In response, GWC called upon expert medical testimony to prove that the re-injury was causally related to the initial injury in the Defendant’s two-flat. The client’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the knee was still healing from the first injury and was therefore highly susceptible to re-injury at the time of the second fall. Without the first injury, the second accident would not have caused the degree of damage that it did.
Based upon their arguments establishing both the Defendant’s liability for the initial accident and the causal connection between that accident and the subsequent re-injury, Mr. Baker and Mr. Keiser were able to settle the People Gas worker’s case for $400,000.00 prior to trial.
Helping People Injured on Defective Premises
Illinois requires property owners to maintain their premises so that they do not inflict harm on lawful invitees. If this duty is breached, an injured person might be able to recover financial damages from the responsible party or parties. To increase their chances of a successful outcome, victims often find that they could benefit from the services of the premises liability attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation you need to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Contact GWC today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a personal injury attorney. You may call our office at (312) 999-9999 or click here to chat with one of our representatives at any time.