Articles Posted in Work Injuries

M Construction Ltd. was doing utility construction, including digging a 9-foot trench to place pipes in the ground. The company’s foreman instructed employees to enter the trench to dig under a pipe.

The unprotected trench collapsed, killing Rigoberto Tovar, an M Construction employee.  He was just 25 years old and was survived by his wife and stepdaughter.

Tovar’s wife, individually and on behalf of his estate, sued M Construction Ltd., alleging it negligently ordered its employees to work in an unprotected trench and chose not to properly train workers on trench safety.

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In a jury trial over a 3-day period in 2018, the jury returned the verdict in favor of the plaintiff, a restaurant waitress, Raona Pearson. The damages for her injuries were awarded against the defendant, Pilot Travel Centers LLC. Pilot filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), which was denied by the trial court as were both parties’ motions for directed verdict at the close of all evidence.

Pilot appealed the verdict and the court’s denial of motions for directed verdict.

From the evening of April 7, 2016, Pearson was working as a waitress at a Denny’s restaurant located inside of a truck stop in East St. Louis, Ill. The truck stop was owned by the defendant, Pilot. Both customers and employees of Denny’s had available to them public restrooms located within Pilot’s truck stop. Denny’s did not have public restrooms of its own.

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Bahram Yahyavi was driving a Dodge Charger in the course of his employment with a car dealership when his vehicle was struck by a forklift driven by a then-employee of Capriati Construction Corp. The forklift’s forks penetrated the car’s front end from the passenger’s side, causing the front windshield to cave into the car.

Yahyavi suffered a severe neck injury that required conservative care and later a five-level cervical fusion.

His past medical expenses were more than $491,000. His past lost wages and lost earnings capacity was proved to be $300,000.

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Alfred Bennett and his wife filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. on behalf of Alfred who had been a mechanic there. He claimed he was exposed to asbestos in handling auto parts. This case was tried in the City of St. Louis, 22nd Judicial Circuit. The jury’s verdict of Aug. 30, 2019 was for $5.725 million in actual damages to Alfred and $708,000 to his wife and $2 million in punitive damages.

Bennett was a mechanic at Ford, Mercury and Lincoln dealerships from the 1960s until the 1980s.

During those decades, he came into regular contact with brakes, gaskets, clutches and original equipment manufacturer replacement parts, which allegedly exposed him to asbestos.

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On Sept. 13, 2011, James Langholf, employed by Howe Freightways Inc., was driving a semi-tractor and trailer truck through Iowa when he heard a pop and felt the engine shake. He then noticed black smoke coming from the engine. He had the engine powered on but pulled off to the side of the road and called Howe’s director of safety and maintenance and the shop foreman for help.

Langholf could not restart the engine and was told to call Cummins, the manufacturing company for his truck’s engine, which had a repair shop nearby.

On advice from someone at Cummins, Langholf called Hanifen Co. in Des Moines to get a tow. Hanifen was 53 miles away and farther than two other tow companies. Two trucks were dispatched, as two were needed to tow the semi-tractor and trailer.

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On July 28, 2016, the defendant, Demetris D. Owens, delivered a semi-trailer truck to a warehouse loading dock at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The plaintiff, Michael Heatherly II, a forklift operator, attempted to unload the materials inside the truck by driving his forklift onto the truck from the dock. As he moved the forklift over the threshold from the dock to the trailer, the truck rolled forward. With Heatherly inside, the forklift fell off the dock approximately 4 feet to the ground.

He suffered permanent spine injuries, which required physical therapy and steroid injections.  He did not undergo surgery. However, he is no longer able to work as a forklift driver and is unable to pursue a career as a union glazier as he intended before this tragic incident.

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Danny Ruark, a machine operator, was working on track maintenance using a hydraulic drill to drill holes in rails. While at work, he clamped the drill to the rail, drilled a hole, retracted the drill bit and unclamped the rig from the rail to move it to the next spot.

However, one day while at work, after finishing a hole, as he bent down to turn off the drill, he heard a boom. Hot fluid sprayed from a broken hydraulic fluid line and onto him, including into his eyes.

He filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific under the Federal Employers Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. Sections 51-60, using the theory of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”), a legal shortcut in proving negligence.

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John Smokes worked for a temporary employment agency, Adecco Staffing and was assigned to work at Dentsply Prosthetics. While at work at Dentsply, Smokes was trained on the operation of a rotary mold press machine.

Two weeks after starting his training, while placing a mold into the load area of the mold press, Smokes’s hand became caught in the machine’s automatic push mechanism, causing his long, ring, and index fingers to be crushed by two platens.

Although he pressed the emergency stop button, the platens did not reopen, and his hand was trapped for almost a half hour while his coworkers dissembled the press.

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Jeffrey Andrews was working as a cement finisher for F.H. Paschen S.N. Nielsen and Associates, LLC (“Paschen”) on a project for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (“Water Reclamation District” or “district”), a governmental entity. He fell 29 feet from a ladder to the bottom of a water chamber where he was applying sealant.

The worksite was muddy that day, and the chamber in which he fell had three feet of standing water in it. The other workers, along with Andrews, were required to use a ladder made by the construction crew for part of the descent before “pivoting” by stepping over onto a commercial fiberglass ladder for the remainder of the trip.

There was no platform between the two ladders. Andrews slipped while attempting to transfer between the two ladders landing on a co-worker, breaking multiple bones and suffering “severe, career-ending head injuries.”
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Reflection Window Co. filed in an attempt to limit its contribution liability to Power Construction Co. for an incident that injured Timothy Cooley who was an employee of Reflection Window. The incident occurred at a construction site where Power Construction was a general contractor.

Reflection Window had insisted that the judge was wrong in also ruling that it waived its lien under Section 5(b) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Reflection Window had conceded that the Cook County judge was correct in striking the affirmative defense it filed under Kotecki v. Cyclops Welding Corp., 146 Ill.2d 155 (1991).

Power Construction sued Reflection Window for contribution after Cooley sued the general contractor for negligence.

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