January 18, 2011

Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal Blue Island Work Accident

The family of Brain Fuller is suing several counties for his Illinois wrongful death. Fuller, who was employed by George J. Roll & Sons, suffered fatal Cook County crush injuries last February in a Blue Island work accident. At the time, he was working the hydraulic components under an elevated dump truck when the pump released.

Now, the 48-year-old La Grange man’s loved ones are suing those involved in the repair and building of parts used in the truck. They claim that Energy Manufacturing, Inc., which constructed the pump, is liable for the pump and controls defects that caused the pump to get stuck and then release at the wrong time. The family’s Cook County wrongful death lawyer says that EMI is also responsible for the “product design issues,” which included placing the controls below the dump body rather than outside the truck’s bed frame.

Chandler Services Inc., Williams Machine and Tool Co., and Groen’s Towing and Truck Repair and Buyers Products Co are the other defendants named in this Blue Island wrongful death case. All of these companies played a role in the maintenance or manufacture of the cable that was supposed to hold the dump frame’s hydraulic lift and keep the dump body in place.

Remember, not only are injured workers and their families likely entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits, but also, they may have grounds for filing a Cook County personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against liable third parties.

In other recent work injury news, a worker died in a Will County, Illinois industrial accident on December 30 after he ended up trapped beneath three tons of granite. The victim was 23-year-old Chicago resident Emilio Gallardo. He died at the work accident site.

Suit filed over workplace death in Blue Island, Chicago Sun-Times, January 17, 2011

Chicago Man Killed in Romeoville Industrial Accident, Woodridge Patch, December 30, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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December 3, 2010

Woman Files Illinois Asbestos Lawsuit Over Father’s Wrongful Death

Othella Carper is suing Honeywell International over the exposure to asbestos her father experienced while working as a carpenter, welder, and pipefitter. Othella Carper is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, compensatory damages of over $100,000, economic damages of more than $50,000, plus other relief, including punitive damages.

In her asbestos lawsuit over his Illinois wrongful death, Carper claims that her dad Paul Towell first became exposed to asbestos in the 1940’s. She is accusing Honeywell International and John Crane of causing her dad to develop mesothelioma because they allowed him to be exposed to products that contained asbestos. Carper contends that the defendants should been aware that the effects of asbestos were harmful. She says that they failed to exercise reasonable care to make sure that her dad stayed safe.

Carper says that because of the asbestos-related diseases that her dad suffered, Towell suffered great physical pain, incurred medical expenses, and suffered mental anguish. He also became unable to do his job, which caused him to lose large sums of money that he would otherwise have earned. Carper says that her dad’s wrongful death caused her to loss his companionship, services, and society.

Asbestos Exposure on the Job
Unfortunately, there are many workers that have fallen ill because they were exposed to asbestos fibers while in their work environments. Employees who are exposed to asbestos, and in some cases their families (because of fibers that may end up on the worker’s clothing or body), are at higher risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses that can prove debilitating and fatal. Serious heath issues from asbestos exposure have included:

• Lung cancer
• Asbestosis, which can cause massive scarring to the lungs and major breathing issues
• Mesothelioma
• Cancer of the throat
• Kidney cancer
• Cancer of the larynx
• Cancer of the esophagus

There are steps employers can take to protect workers from asbestos exposure.

Pipefitter files asbestos complaint in St. Clair County, The Record, November 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Asbestos, Environmental Protection Agency

Asbestos, United States Department of Labor

Asbestos, Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog

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September 3, 2010

Chicago Worker Fatality: Sister of Forest Park Mechanic Allegedly Killed by Street Sweeper Sues Companies for Over $600,000

The sister of Forest Park street sweeper Brian P. Miller is suing Elgin Sweeping Services Inc., Elgin Sweeper Company, and Schwarze Industries for his Chicago wrongful death. The 37-year-old man was allegedly killed last year when the street sweeper he was repairing fell on him. Now, Keri Goff is seeking over $600,000 in Cook County wrongful death recovery.

Miller was employed by Hunter Maintenance & Leasing Corporation at the time of the tragic Chicago work accident. According to police, on October 21, 2009, they arrived to find Miller stuck in the compressor of one of the trucks in the company’s rear lot. He was already unresponsive.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says that Miller died after he got trapped in the sweeper. According to autopsy findings, Miller died from multiple injuries that he sustained from being pinned in the compressor.

In her Cook County wrongful death complaint, Goff accuses Elgin Sweeping Services of a number of negligent acts, including the improper repair, removal, modification, and alteration of safety pins and the improper repair of the street sweeper. Elgin Sweeper Company and Schwarze Industries designed and distributed the vehicles.

Family members who’ve lost loved ones in work accidents cannot sue the employer for Chicago wrongful death. The deceased’s spouse and children, however, are usually entitled to Illinois survivors benefits. If there is no eligible wife/husband and kids, then there may be other family members that qualify. They also may be able to sue third parties that are not the deceased’s employer for wrongful death.

Workers injured on the job are usually entitled to Chicago workers’ compensation. An experienced Cook County workers’ compensation law firm can help you obtain all of the benefits that you are owed.

Family of man crushed by sweeper files suit, WLS-AM 890

Street Sweeping Truck Accidentally Crushes Park Forest Man, eNews Park Forest, October 23, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Survivors Benefits Cases Filed in Illinois, Justia

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August 25, 2010

OSHA Fines SeaWorld in Trainer’s Drowning Death from Killer Whale Attack

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined SeaWorld $75,000 following the death of a trainer who was mauled by one of its killer whales. Federal workplace safety officials say that the sea park committed a “willful” violation when it exposed trainers in a manner that could allow the animals to strike or drown them. OSHA also contends that SeaWorld has shown “plain indifference” or “intentional disregard” when it comes to employee safety and failed to “make meaningful changes” to improve such deficiencies.

Trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed last February when a 12,000-pound killer whale pulled her into the water and drowned her at the SeaWorld in Orlando. Dozens of tourists, some of them were attending the "Dine with Shamu" show at the time, witnessed the tragic accident.

Since Brancheau’s death, trainers are no longer allowed in the tanks with orcas.

According WESH.com, Brancheau’s husband Scott Brancheau has hired a wrongful death lawyer. It is not known at this time whether he intends to sue SeaWorld or another party.

Generally, employees and their families are usually entitled to workers’ compensation or survivors’ benefits and cannot sue an employer for personal injury or wrongful death. However, Florida law has a narrow exception that allows an employee to file a civil suit against an employer if the latter knew without a doubt that the worker was at risk of injury or death.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Filing a Chicago workers’ compensation claim or a third party injury lawsuit can be a confusing process unless you have an Illinois workers’ compensation law firm working to ensure that you receive all that you are owed. Getting hurt or losing someone you love in a work accident is an unfortunate occurrence and there is no reason that you should incur additional financial losses when other parties should be held liable.

Husband Of Killed SeaWorld Trainer Hires Lawyer, WESH, August 25, 2010

Feds cite SeaWorld in trainer's death, SignonSanDiego, August 23, 2010

SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau dies in killer-whale attack in Orlando, Palm Beach Post, February 25, 2010

Related Web Resources:


SeaWorld Trainer Dies in Fatal Killer Whale Attack, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyersBlog, February 25, 2010

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November 2, 2009

OSHA’s 2009 Top 10 Safety Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its list of the 10 most common workplace safety violations for the year:

9,093 Scaffolding violations: Most common causes of scaffolding accidents involve the support or planking giving way or the employee slipping or getting hit by a falling object.

6,771 Fall Protection violations: Workers in the general industry working at a height of four feet or greater must be adequately protected. In the construction arena workers must be protected when working at six feet or higher.

6,378 Hazard Communication violations: Chemical makers and importers must evaluate the hazards of their products and develop safety data sheets and labels so that downstream clients are made aware of these hazards.

3,803 Respiratory Protection violations: Workers must be protected against dangerous dusts, smokes, fogs, gases, mists, sprays, vapors, and inadequate oxygen environments. Failure to do so can result in lung impairment, cancer, and other diseases. It can also lead to deaths.

3,321 Lockout-Tag Out violations: Employees must be protected from hazardous energy released during maintenance or service. They also must be protected from the unexpected activation of equipment and machinery.

3,079 Electrical Wiring Violations: Electricians, engineers, sales people, office workers, and other employees must be protected from the hazards of working directly or indirectly with electricity.

3,072 Ladder violations: Falls from ladders can result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death. Fall accidents cause 8% of all occupational-related fatalities involving trauma.

2,993 Powered-Industrial Trucks violations: Tens of thousands of people are injured each year because of forklift accidents.

2,556 Electrical violations

2,364 Machine Guarding violations: Protecting workers from any part, process, or function that can injure or kill a worker.

Compared to same time period last year, the number of top 10 violations has gone up nearly 30%.

Regardless of who or what caused a work accident, most workers are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits.

OSHA Reports on Top 10 Safety Violations for 2009, Reuters.PR Newswire, October 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Continue reading "OSHA’s 2009 Top 10 Safety Violations " »

September 16, 2009

Jury Awards $6.7 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict to Family of Man Who Died in ADM Work Accident

A jury has awarded the family of Francisco Moreno Garcia $6.7 million for his Illinois wrongful death. Garcia was employed by ECF Inc. when he died from injuries he sustained during a work accident while insulating pipes at an ADM facility. The defendant in the third party lawsuit is Archer Daniels Midland Co.

A machine located close to where he was working malfunctioned, spraying him with steam and hot liquid. He was ushered into a safety shower, but even as his clothes were taken off him, his skin was coming off. According to the Sagamon County coroner, Garcia had burn injuries on more than nearly 90% of his body.

While state law prevents a worker from suing his or her employer for Illinois personal injury, an employee (and his or her family) is entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits in the event of injury or death. The victim and family members can, however, pursue personal injury or wrongful death recovery from a negligent third party. In this particular case, ECF was Garcia’s employer and ADM is the third party.

Garcia was 26 when he died.

Third Party Lawsuits
In Illinois, third party lawsuits are usually filed in Federal or Circuit court. Recovery from a third party claim can be significant if the injuries are serious. The statute of limitations for filing a third party lawsuit is two years from the date of the work accident.

If you were injured in a work accident, you should notify your employer as soon as possible that you are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. You should not, however, attempt to resolve your third party dispute without talking to a Chicago injury lawyer. Your Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can make sure that you receive all of the work injury benefits that you are owed.

Ill. jury awards $6.7 million to family of man killed in ADM accident, The Gaea Times, September 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Accident Report Forms, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

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August 12, 2009

Illinois Elder Care Worker Sues Hospital After Patient Attacks Her

A woman who used to work for Home Instead Senior Care is suing Gateway Regional Medical Center (also known as Granite City Illinois Hospital Company) for personal injury. Margaret King says the hospital company could have done more to protect her from a patient who attacked her.

King was a sitter who was hired to sit with patient Andrew George Reando. In her Illinois personal injury lawsuit, King claims that Reando attacked her last December without provocation. As a result of the assault, King says she injured her back, neck, and pelvis. She also experienced suffering, pain, and disability and now has medical expenses. She also suffered lost wages because of her injuries.

King says that Gateway should have stepped up security around Reando, who was known to be a risk to others. She also contends that the hospital company should have properly monitored the patient’s medications.

While workers cannot sue their employers for personal injuries sustained on the job, they are usually entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits. That said, there may be other losses that work injury benefits cannot take care of. This is why if you were injured in a work accident you should consult a Chicago injury attorney who can help you with your workers’ compensation claim and any third party injury lawsuits.

Illinois work accidents do happen—even if the job a worker does isn’t typically considered dangerous, a worker might slip and fall, suffer from repetitive strain or back injuries, get sick due to exposure to toxic substances, or become the victim of a violent crime while at the work site or office.

Hospital worker sues after patient attack, The Record, August 12, 2009

Elder Care, AFL-CIO

Related Web Resources:

Home Instead Senior Care

Gateway Regional Medical Center

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July 10, 2009

Chicago Construction Accident: Illinois Drunk Driver Pins Worker Between Two Motor Vehicles in Work Zone Area

A Chicago construction worker has been rushed to an Oak Lawn hospital after he was struck by a drunk driver in a construction work zone. The Illinois construction accident occurred today on the Bishop Ford Freeway close to Dolton.

The Chicago work accident took place in a protected work zone on I-94 at around 4:15 am when a 1998 Cadillac pinned the worker to a construction van. The worker sustained two broken legs. The driver of the Cadillac suffered head injuries and was taken to a Harvey hospital.

According to Illinois State Police Chicago Master Sgt. Todd Borisey, the construction worker and the work zone were clearly visible to the motorist, and the cones on the roadway made it clear that there was a protected work zone in the area. The drive could be charged with violating Scott’s Law, which increases penalties if a driver does not yield to emergency vehicles or causes injury to service personnel or public safety workers at roadside emergency scenes.

While construction zones are often marked so that motorists can avoid causing injury to workers, many drivers unfortunately do not realized that they are in a road work area and they need to drive carefully so that no one gets hurt. Just last month, Arnold Placensia, another construction worker, was repairing potholes when a motorist who was driving at a high speed struck him. Placensia died from his injuries as did the driver, Nancy Richards, who struck a large piece of construction equipment after hitting him.

Construction workers injured in work zones are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker or the family of a deceased construction worker may be able to file a Chicago personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a liable motorist, subcontractor, or another negligent party.

Drunk driver strikes construction worker on Bishop Ford, Chicago Sun-Times, July 10, 2009

Construction worker, driver killed in suspected DUI, The Modesto Bee, June 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Scott's Law

Work Zone Mobility and Safety Programs, Federal Highway Adminstration

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May 27, 2009

Wal-Mart Worker’s Death Leads to OSHA Citation and $7,000 Fine

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing and fining Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for the death of a Wal-Mart employee during a Black Friday shopping event on November 28, 2008. OSHA says that store employees were placed at risk of being crushed by the crowd because Wal-Mart neglected to put into place “reasonable and effective” crowd management principles and, instead, engaged in inadequate crowd management. He died of asphyxiation.

OSHA is also accusing the Wal-Mart store of failing to provide workers with the tools and training required to manage the crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers that rushed into the store. The crowd knocked seasonal worker Jdimytai Damour onto the ground, trampling him as they broke down doors to get to the sale items.

The OSHA fine for the citation is $7,000—the maximum fine possible for a serious OSHA violation. Based on past Black Friday experiences, an OSHA representative said that the store should have foreseen that effective crowd control tactics needed to be put in place. Wal-Mart disagrees with the citation and claims that it could not have anticipated Damour’s tragic worker accident. Wal-Mart spokesperson Daphne Moore says that OSHA and the retail industry do not provide guidance for such situations and that, in fact, the company had implemented crowd management precautions on the day Damour died.

The retailer has agreed to improve its post-Thanskgiving day crowd management strategy, pay $400,000 to victims that were injured during last year’s Black Friday trampling incident, and give $1.5 million to nonprofit and social services groups. The deal with prosecutors allows the retail chain to avoid criminal charges in Damour’s death.

Most injured workers and immediate family workers of those killed in Illinois work accidents are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from their employers.

OSHA cites Wal-Mart in trampling death, Newsday.com, May 26, 2009

Wal-Mart pays $2M to avoid charges in death probe, AP/Trib.com, May 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Family Of Wal-Mart Employee Jdimytai Damour Sues Over Trampling Death, The Huffington Post, December 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Worker’s Black Friday Death Was Preventable, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyerBlog, December 2, 2008

Walmart Stores

Continue reading "Wal-Mart Worker’s Death Leads to OSHA Citation and $7,000 Fine" »

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April 1, 2009

Orland Hills Refinery Worker’s Family to Receive $6 Million Wrongful Death Settlement in Addition to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

An Illinois wrongful death settlement has been reached between the family of an Orland Hills refinery worker and Clark USA Inc, now named Premcor. The then-37-year-old worker, Gary Szabla, died on March 13, 1995 during an explosion at the Clark Oil refinery in Blue Island. The wrongful death case has been making its way through the courts for over a decade.

At first, a Cook County judge agreed with Clark USA and its claim that it could not be sued because it was protected under Illinois’s workers’ compensation law and that it was not directly in charge of daily operations at the refinery where the blast occurred. The wrongful death attorney representing Szabla’s family, however, argued that Clark USA was in charge of the refinery's decreased budget, which was forcing refinery workers to take on maintenance jobs that they were not trained to perform.

The Illinois Appellate Court would go on to overturn the Cook County judge’s ruling. Clark USA then took the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld the appellate court’s ruling that because the company was in charged of the refinery’s operating budget, it could be held liable. The Illinois Supreme Court also found that because Clark USA was not Szabla’s direct employer, it could not avail of protections offered under workers’ compensation law.

The $6 million wrongful death settlement will go to Szabla’s widow, Elizabeth, who has also received workers’ compensation death benefits.

Also killed in the 1995 blast was 50-year-old refinery worker Michael Forsythe. His family filed their civil lawsuit for his wrongful death. Three other people were injured in the explosion.

Refinery Worker Injuries
Sandblasters, painters, refinery maintenance operators, pipe fitters, welders, and corrosion removal workers are just some of the many refinery workers who are prone to serious injuries and exposure to toxic substances while on the job. Refinery worker injuries can occur during fires or due to chemical burns, explosions, electrocution accidents, improper scaffolding, lead poisoning, exposure to heat, exposure to asbestos, and slip and fall accidents. Refinery workers also risk contracting occupational diseases, such as lung disease, silicosis, and multiple myeloma.

If someone in your family died in a refinery work accident, you may be entitled to receive Illinois workers’ compensation death benefits. You also may be able to file wrongful lawsuits against other negligent parties.

Refinery worker's family to get $6M, Southtownstar.com, April 1, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Industrial Accidents, Chicago Tribune

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