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Fatal Injuries From Heavy Equipment Accidents

heavy machinery

“GregoryPrudenProject2Shot4”by Gregory Pruden is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States. This was a 7% increase since 2015 Over the past three years, the rate has continuously increased. Lastly, 2016 was the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded since 2008. Out of these fatal injuries, over 750 resulted from injuries with equipment, such as heavy machinery. One of OSHA’s Fatal Four constructions includes when a worker’s body is caught, crushed, squeezed or compressed between two objects, such as machinery.

Heavy equipment include:

  • Excavators,
  • Backhoes,
  • Bulldozers,
  • Graders,
  • Cranes,
  • Pavers,
  • Compactors,
  • Dump Trucks, and
  • Pile Boring and Driving Machines.

Recently, an accident in Algonquin involving an excavator injured a construction worker. The accident killed a construction worker pinned between an excavator and a concrete Jersey barrier while working on a bridge.  An excavators is also called a digger, JCB, mechanical shovel, or 360-degree excavator. Additionally, many call tracked excavators “trackhoes.”

What Are Common Heavy Equipment Accidents?

With work accidents on the rise, workers need to know what to watch out for and what types of accidents frequently occur.

Some of the most common heavy equipment accidents include injuries caused when:

  • A vehicle backs up due to a large blindspot,
  • An object falls or strikes someone,
  • Moving machinery strikes an individual,
  • Machinery breaks,
  • Structures collapse, or
  • Falling from machinery.

Severe injuries can occur including spinal cord injuries, head and neck injuries, other broken bones, concussions, electrical burns, amputations, and in many unfortunately circumstances, death. Workers who suffer injury face high medical costs and lost wages from time away from work. As always, recovery can become very difficult.

OSHA requires that the employer teach each employee how to avoid unsafe conditions. Additionally, the employer must instruct on any applicable regulations. They have a duty to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury. Next, employers owe their employees a duty of care to provide safe working conditions and proper equipment. If they fail to abide by OSHA regulations, the safety of their employees is at stake. Lastly, negligence has occurred if they breach their duty of care result in an injurious accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident on a job site, contact an experienced injury lawyer. The attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. have decades of experience in helping injuries workers. Contact us today for a free consultation at (847) 357-0403.


Construction Injuries Caused by Steel Beams

i beam

Accidents on construction sites can lead to some very serious injuries to the workers. Construction sites are dangerous work places and that involve hard physical labor and often includes powerful machinery. The nature of construction sites includes being in dangerous locations such as great heights and road side where the chances of accident are greater.

Due to its resemblance to an upper-case “I”, the most common steel member for building construction is the I-beam. Other names include a joist or girder. The beam has flanges that attach on either side of the central core component. The beam can weigh more than 400 pounds.

Accident in Evanston

On October 9, 2018 at 8:25 a.m, a steel beam fell 30 feet and tragically killed a construction worker in Evanston. Another worker was also critically injured. The two men, ages 55 and 27, worked near a nine-story apartment building on 811 Emerson Street in downtown Evanston. Suddenly, a beam fell as the crane tried to offload it. At the time of the accident, it remained unclear how the beam fell. However, news reports claimed it appeared that the crane may have lost balance as it unloaded the beam.

The beam hit the two men who were immediately rushed to the nearby hospital. Tragically, the 55 -year-old Davis Bialas was pronounced dead at the hospital. The autopsy states he died of enduring multiple injuries in the accident. The 27-year-old man was stuck under the beam and had to be extricated and then taken to the hospital in critical condition. He went through surgery.

What Kind of Injuries Can Result from an I-Beam?

Construction workers hurt on site have options available for recovery such as getting medical bills paid, being able to take time off work to recover from the injuries, to not being able to go to work at all due to the injuries or even switching to job that is less physically demanding.

If you are a construction worker who has been hurt at work or know someone who has sustained serious injuries and are trying to recover the serious medical problems, or going through the pain of injures and financial worries of paying your medical bills or other bills due to the lack of attendance at work, you need to contact an attorney right away. An attorney will provide you the option and help you understand your rights under the laws.

What Next?

Hiring an attorney will help in many ways. An attorney will examine your case and help determine how much cost you have incurred due to the accident. They will then determine is you are eligible to file a worker’s compensation claim or a third-party liability lawsuit. If you or someone you love has been injured by a falling I beam, call the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today at (847) 357-0403


What To Do If You Are Injured at Work?

Injured at Work

No one wants to get injured at work. However, on occasion, injuries happen. If you have suffered an injury at work, you need to understand your state’s worker’s compensation laws. If you suffer a job-related injury, protect your legal rights. Nearly every employer is required by state law to provide some sort of workers compensation to their employees.

Accident Report

The first thing you should so after being injured is report immediately to your supervisor. Many states only allow a short period of time to report your accident under workers compensation. Some states require a notice to the employer in writing, while others accept a verbal notice. Employees should report all on-the-job injuries. Even if the employee did not sustain actual injuries, employers may need to implement new safety measures at work.

See a Doctor

You should see a doctor as soon as possible and if your injury warrants it, then go to the emergency room.

  • If you did not suffer a serious injury, ask your employer if they require you to see a certain doctor or if you may choose the doctor of your choice.
  • Specifically, if you are a federal employee, you are covered under Workers Compensation for Federal Employees (FECA), which means you may select any qualified doctor to be your treated doctor.
  • If FECA does not cover you, state laws will apply.

In some states, you have the right to see your own doctor if you make the request in writing. However, in most states you must see the company doctor for a maximum of 30 days. After 30 days, you are free to choose your own doctor.

Doctors report will have a big impact on the benefits you will receiving. You may be entitled to second opinion from a doctor under workers compensation. If the second doctor’s report agrees with the first doctor, then there is no problem and the compensation payment continues uninterrupted. But, if the second doctors’ opinion is different then, the office can weigh to see which doctor’s opinion is more credible or see a third doctor.

Filing Workers Compensation

Filing workers compensation is like filing an insurance claim, requesting for benefit. After notifying your employer, the employer must offer you a claim form immediately. The claim form must be completed in order for the employer to be obligated to provide benefits. If the form is not provided to you by the state, it can be located through this site:  state government agencies page. When completed, return the claim form to your employer. Remember to keep a copy of the completed claim form for yourself. Your employer would then have to complete “employer” section. The insurance company has 14 days to mail you a status letter about your claim. If the insurance company does not contact you within 14 days, you should call the insurance company.

Hire a Lawyer

Needing a lawyer depends no the complexity of the case. If there is confusion, or you do not understand any part of you case, be sure to contact a lawyer to represent you. For any reason the case involves you to stand before an administrative or court judge, you should hire a lawyer. If you or someone you love suffered an injury at work, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.

OSHA’s Fatal Four Construction Injuries

fatal four osha

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides regulations to promote a safe work place for the workers. Since 1970, OSHA has made a difference for worker’s safety. The government agency partners with state officials, safety and health professionals, unions, and other advocates. The work has had a dramatic effect on workplace safety. For example, the effort has reduced worker’s deaths in America from about 38 worker’s deaths a day in 1970 to 14 a day in 2016.

OSHA has designed a safety and regulation program to keep the construction sites safe by focusing on four areas of injuries. They refer to these injuries as the “Fatal Four.” The “Fatal Four” includes

  • falls,
  • struck by object,
  • electrocution and
  • caught-in/between.

The “Fatal Four” are responsible for more than half of all construction workers death in 2016. The goal of OSHA is to reduce the risk of injury from the “Fatal Four. In the end, they want to save over 600 workers’ lives in America each year.

[Read more…]

Construction Site Accident Injuries

construction accident injuries

Many people see new construction and get excited about the new stores, homes, or parks that come with them. However, construction causes many serious injuries, or even death, to construction workers. They perform risky tasks such as use hazardous machinery. Additionally, they work on road construction where cars at fast speed drive by. Lastly, they climb great heights which put them at a risk of serious injury every day at work.

[Read more…]

Scaffolding Accidents


Workers understand the risks of construction sites. They understand the risks of falling from great heights. As they work on scaffoldings, Construction crew members are at a high risk of death due to falls from great heights. One reason for the falls among construction workers is scaffoldings that collapse.

Injuries Caused By Scaffoldings Collapsing

Some major injuries that can result from the fall of a construction worker due to scaffolding collapse are:

  • Broken or shattered bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage or bleeding
  • Serious lacerations

Many workers who fall due to scaffolding dangerously collapsing result in major injuries if not death. Usually, the victims needs extensive medial treatment and may be left with permanent disabilities.

Injuries, disabilities and death can become costly, with medical bills and loss of work. Attorneys provide services that helps the innocence victims combat the situation and be provided with what they deserve.

Disney Scaffoldings Accident

Such accidents happen every day. For example, a horrible accident involving the collapse of scaffolding took place at a Disney park.

On August 29 around 4:15 a.m., two construction workers worked on the 6th and 7th floor of a construction site, pouring concrete for the new hotel. The scaffolding collapsed. Subsequently, they fell 80 feet to their death. The third worker managed to hang on to the scaffolding and climbed to safety. He suffered minor injuries but refused transport to the hospital. A fourth worker escaped uninjured. At the time of the incident, a dozen workers worked, pouring concrete. Reports identified the deceased as Jerry Bell, 46, and Lorenzo Zavala, 34.

This accident took place near the Disney World resort in central Florida. The workers worked on site on the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, a $282 million project for a 16-story venture with 516 rooms from Marriott International. Although not a Disney property, other Disney resorts surround the new hotel. Marriott plans to complete the project in 2019.

The sheriff’s office and federal investigators examined the scene for the cause of the accident. The examination looked into why the scaffolding gave away.

As the family mourns the deaths of their beloved, the workers are shocked and confused by the incident wondering how the scaffolding can collapse. Lastly, the Marriott International spokesperson stated deep sadness by the tragic incident that took place.

If you or someone you know were involved in an accident with construction site, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.

Drive Safe Around Road Construction Crews

road construction

As you end to family functions or work, remember that you should not rush. Always leave a bit early. But we all have been in a situation where an unexpected construction zone appears. Frustration sets in and some of us experience some road rage. However, many car accidents occur in these work zones as drivers become distracted.

Recently, a 59-year-old certified flagger died after a driver hit him and his work van in the northbound lanes of I-294 just south of Touhy. This unfortunately accident cost a family a beloved member and the driver should have been driving at a reduced speed. These mistakes need to stay at the forefront of your mind as you head out the door.

Although Chicago summers traditionally have more construction, many projects continue into early fall. Stay safe while driving on our highways and remember that the men and women fixing the roads deserve your attention.

[Read more…]

Scaffold Injuries and Safety Precautions


Reports attribute over 40% of all fatalities in construction zones each year to falling hazards. Additionally, OSHA estimates that about 65% of all construction workers perform some work on scaffolds every year. With so many workers on scaffolding, staying safe remains important to reduce the risk of falling.

Unsafe scaffolding is a significant source of lawsuits by construction workers and their families. Many seek compensation for the death or personal injury of the worker.

One of the the key issues is if the scaffold is safe. OSHA has many different standards. To begin with, OSHA requires a “competent person” to perform many duties including,  among others,

  • selecting and direct employees who erect, dismantle, move, or alter scaffolds.
  • determining if it is safe for employees to work on or from a scaffold during storms or high winds
  • ensuring that a personal fall arrest system or wind screens protect these employees.
  • training employees, and
  • inspecting scaffolds and scaffold components for visible defects before each work shift

[Read more…]

Construction Workers and Electrocutions


OSHA reported that 21.1% of worker fatalities in private industry occur in construction. The leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry include falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. They call these accidents the “Fatal Four.”

The Fatal Four were responsible for more than half (63.7%) the construction worker deaths in 2016, BLS reports. They state that eliminating the Fatal Four would save 631 workers’ lives in America every year.

Although less frequent than falls, too many construction workers electrocute themselves while working. These injuries or deaths can easily be limited by following safety precautions. However, injuries can occur regardless of your precautions.

With so many wires and metal objects, workers need to stay aware of their surroundings. And if you suffer an injury, follow up with a qualified construction accident attorney.

[Read more…]

Filing Third-Party Claims for Construction Site Accidents

Filing Third-Party Claims for Construction Site AccidentsDespite the strict safety regulations enforced on construction sites, workers can suffer serious injuries on the job. Whether due to hazardous work practices, defective equipment or tools, or a negligently managed site, construction workers risk leg and limb every day to build our homes, stores, schools, and offices.


Fortunately, construction workers who are injured on the job may be eligible for compensation from their employers and potentially other parties. You cannot sue your employer for injuries you suffered while on the job, but you can file an Illinois workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp will cover your medical bills and lost wages.


Workers’ comp claims help injured employees from all industries cover their necessary medical costs. Unique to construction site accidents, however, is the involvement of third parties, or other companies working on the same site as you. You may also be able to file a third-party claim against any other parties that contributed to your accident. The compensation you receive from such a claim could cover your losses beyond what workers’ comp would cover, and your employer might even be able to recover a portion of your workers’ comp benefits.


A third party claim is a claim against a company or person—such as other contractors working on your site—whose negligence or strict liability was the proximate cause of your injury. Third party claims are relatively common in construction site accidents because construction sites typically have several companies or contractors working on the same project. You could also file a third party claim against a manufacturer if a defective product caused your injury.


Third-party claims can be complicated because many pieces of documentation—such as contracts, releases, and agreements—must be obtained and reviewed to determine liability correctly. So, if you have been injured on a construction site, notify your employer right away to file a workers’ comp claim, but you should also speak with an attorney about the potential for third-party claims.


To ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses from all responsible parties, consult with an Arlington Heights construction accident lawyer as soon as you can. You only have a short amount of time in which to file a third-party claim, which is called the statute of limitations. The sooner you file a claim, the better your chance of holding the liable parties responsible and receiving the compensation you deserve.


If you’ve recently been injured on the job and are seeking compensation, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.


About the Firm

Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron


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