5.4 Million Settlement for Workers Injured in Construction Accident

Three Cook County construction workers secured a $5.4 million settlement from Walsh Construction Company in a Will County personal injury lawsuit. The settlement during the middle of the Cook County trial regarding the 2006 construction site accident.

In 2006, the three plaintiffs were working on a construction of a bridge that would extend Interstate 355 over the Des Plaines River. The bridge project was intended to have three lanes of traffic in each direction and rise to over 100 feet above the ground. The project was overseen by Walsh Construction Company, who in turn hired various subcontractors to handle different components of the construction project.

The three plaintiffs were employed as ironworkers by one of the subcontractors hired by Walsh Construction and were working on the bridge’s foundations at the time of the construction site accident. The plaintiffs became injured after a steel rebar cage collapsed. The rebar cage is meant to provide structure to the bridge and hold the concrete in place. The structure is typically composed of reinforced steel, with the cages generally being constructed off site.

As a result of the Cook County construction accident, one of the plaintiffs sustained two herniated discs in his back and broke his ankle. Another tore his rotator cuff and also suffered aggravation of a prior anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. And the last faired the best of the three injured workers, sustaining only a contusion, or bruise, to his elbow.

The three construction workers filed a joint complaint against Walsh Construction Company in which they alleged that it failed to ensure that there was the necessary structural support that would have prevented the cage’s collapse. However, Walsh Construction argued in its defense that the rebar cage’s construction was the responsibility of the subcontractor which employed the three plaintiffs and that its negligence was the sole proximate cause of the construction accident.

The plaintiffs’ responded to this defense by countering that Walsh Construction had the responsibility of maintaining the safety of its construction site. At the Cook County jury trial, the plaintiffs called eleven witnesses while presenting their case. Immediately following this portion of the trial, the defense attorneys began settlement negotiations. A settlement of $5.4 million was reached for all the parties, with $2.7 million going to the first plaintiff, $2.5 million going to the second plaintiff, and $250,000 to the last plaintiff.

In addition to the cash settlement, the defense negotiated for a waiver of the $1 million workers’ compensation liens, i.e., the money the plaintiffs’ employer had paid out for the three construction workers’ medical expenses. Typically, if a plaintiff receives payment for the same medical bills in the form of a legal settlement or verdict, then he is responsible for reimbursing his employer for the money it paid out. However, because the waiver of those liens was included in the settlement, the plaintiffs will not have to reimburse their employer for its payment of their medical bills and can therefore keep a larger portion of the settlement for themselves.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois construction accident lawsuits for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Warrenville, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Orland Park, Downers Grove, and River Forest.

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