The Wrongful Death of Ernesto Oliva

On November 11, 2007, Ernesto Oliva, a member of Carpenters Local 13, lost his life in a tragic fall down an elevator shaft at 211 W. Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois.

Within hours of the tragic accident, insurance company investigators, working with insurance company lawyers, descended on the job site to begin their investigation. Statements and photographs were taken. The insurance company hired two of the foremost elevator experts in the country.

It was more than a month later that Mrs. Oliva looked into hiring a law firm. She was going to hire a general practice lawyer to represent her interests because she was unaware of GWC Injury Lawyers, but fortunately for the Oliva family, Ernesto had two brothers who were carpenters. They knew that GWC is a very experienced law firm capable of handling difficult lawsuits.

Our law firm was hired to represent the Oliva family and we immediately began our investigation.

It was our intention to prove that building management knew that the elevator was unsafe and did nothing to repair it. The hallway in which the elevator was located was unlit because the building was in an energy-saving mode, making it impossible for Mr. Oliva to see that the elevator was 11 stories below him when he entered the opened doors. Because safety was ignored in order to save money, Mr. Oliva fell 110 feet to his death.

We found that Ernesto’s employer, confused by a “well-crafted” question posed by an insurance company lawyer, had given an inaccurate statement that could have resulted in Mrs. Oliva and her two young daughters being denied the workers’ compensation benefits that she was rightfully entitled to receive.

We faced a further obstacle when attempting to secure an expert witness. The insurance companies had already reached out to two of the most well-respected elevator expert witnesses, both located in Chicago. We were forced to go to California to find an expert for our client.

Our hard work and experience paid off for this family. We were able to secure more than $10 million for Mrs. Oliva and her two young daughters, only 17 months after the tragic accident.

The Chicago construction accident law firm of GWC Injury Lawyers has represented the working men and women of Illinois for more than 40 years. We are proud to continue that tradition by representing a hardworking member of the Bricklayers Local 21.

Our law firm concentrates its practice on representing clients suffering catastrophic injuries and wrongful death cases throughout Illinois and has 22 attorneys devoted to bringing negligent persons and corporations to justice for their actions.