$3.3 Million Settlement for Construction Worker Injured by Backing Truck

Harry DeSchene, a 53-year-old worker for Pavement Recycling, was seriously injured on a jobsite. He was walking behind a water truck to take a work-related phone call when a truck driver of Emmett’s Excavation backed his truck into him. He was run over at his midsection. He suffered a pelvic fracture, a dislocated right elbow and other internal injuries.

DeSchene’s medical expenses were $400,000. He is now totally disabled and unable to return to work.

DeSchene and his wife filed a lawsuit against Emmett’s Excavation claiming that its employee was negligent by choosing not to walk around his truck to clear the area before backing up. In other words, it was the truck driver’s duty to make sure no one was near the rear end of his truck before he backed it up. Emmett’s argued that DeSchene acted negligently himself by engaging in a conversation on his phone behind the Emmett’s truck.

The defendant also argued that DeSchene’s damages were limited to worker’s compensation only.

Before trial, the parties settled for $3.3 million and a waiver of $577,000, which was the worker’s compensation lien. In Illinois a workers’ compensation lien has a high priority. The workers’ compensation lien is made up of all of the paid medical expenses, the temporary total disability payments made to the worker and the lump sum settlement amount if that were paid.

Sometimes in cases like this when the worker cannot return to the type of work he or she were doing before the serious injury, the worker may be employed in a completely different industry in which the pay is much less. In that case the worker and his or her employer would work out a settlement that would include the wage differential between the old job’s wages and the new job’s wages. It is unclear from the reporting on this case as to what the workers’ compensation lien was made up of. In waiving the lien, the employer would be saved from facing a jury trial in which it was made a third-party defendant.

The lawyers representing Mr. and Mrs. DeSchene were Stanley K. Jacobs, John F. Gerard and Martin L. Wolf.

DeSchene v. Emmett’s Excavation, No. 13CECG0098 (Cal. Super. Ct. Fresno County, Feb. 6, 2015).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling construction site work injury cases, work injury cases, truck accident cases and premises liability cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Blue Island, Alsip, Crete, Bensenville, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Elmhurst, Melrose Park, Justice, River Grove, South Holland, Hoffman Estates, Markham, Matteson, Maywood, Midlothian, Mundelein, Lake Bluff, Olympia Fields, Glencoe, Dolton, East Hazel Crest, Country Club Hills, Countryside, Calumet Park, Chicago Heights, Chicago (Humboldt Park, Lawndale, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville), Joliet and Elgin, Ill.

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