Attorney-Partner Steven A. Berman of Anesi Ozmon secured a $6.6 million jury award for an injured ironworker in a case that was featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. The worker was hurt while working at the Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant in an accident that he argued was caused by preventable negligence. The defendants refused to offer a fair amount of compensation, so the case went to trial for 10 days. Steven Berman and his client are both highly satisfied by the multimillion-dollar case result, which was only slightly reduced by the client’s 8% liability, as determined by the jury’s verdict.
Details of the Injured Ironworker Case
Our client was working at the Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant when he tripped on a piece of plywood that had been left on the ground and covered by welding blankets. The plywood was not secured to the floor in any way, making it a significant tripping hazard. When he tripped on the hazard, he fell, twisted, and landed on his safety harness, which jammed a steel “D-ring” into his spine. At just 27-years-old, he was diagnosed with a severe vertebral disc herniation that would require spinal surgery to partially alleviate.
Eventually, he was able to return to work at a “medium” capacity. However, the work he loved as an ironworker is now permanently out of the question due to the limitations his injury has caused.
Who is Liable for the Ironworker’s Injuries?
Determining liability for our client’s spine injury proved to be complicated. He was employed by Midwest Steel, Inc. to work at the Chrysler assembly plant, which, in turn, was now owned by FCA US LLC (FCA). Which of the companies was liable for failing to clear the workspace of preventable hazards? Steven Berman was able to argue that FCA was rightfully in charge of safety at the plant and had to oversee the actions of workers there, even if they were employed by a different company, as our client was. As such, FCA was liable for not creating and maintaining a safe workspace.
The case would go to trial under the claim of construction negligence. Our client would testify that FCA did not inspect the premises before he started his tasks for the day nor did the company make any other attempts to safeguard workers from such potential issues.
The defense was unable to argue away the full extent of FCA’s liability for the worksite accident. After 10 days in court, the jury concluded that FCA was 92% liable and that an award of $6.6 million was fair when considering the claimant’s past and future damages.
From everyone at Anesi Ozmon in Chicago, we want to congratulate Attorney Steven Berman for this newsworthy win. We also need to thank Attorney Matthew Sims of Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., who helped act as co-counsel for our client. Lastly, we also want to express appreciation to our client who trusted us to handle this important case.
For more information about this case, you can click here to view the full article from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. (Log-in and subscription information could be required.) To learn more about Steven Berman and our work at Anesi Ozmon, feel free to contact our firm at any time.