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Justice Delivered for 19 Year-Old Illinois Man who Lost Leg in a Work Accident

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys read with great pleasure that justice had been delivered to a young Deer Creek man who lost his leg due to a machine manufacturing company’s negligence.

In November of 2008, the 19 year-old was working as a roofing truss builder when he was run down by a MiTek Roof Glider machine. The man was hammering roof trusses and the operator of the MiTek machine failed to notice that the man was working in the path of machine, which was stamping down metal plates.

Initially the worker tried to get out of the way, but as the machine reached him, he pushed a safety bar on the machine that was intended to function to immediately stop the machine. Instead, however, the emergency stop failed, and the machine pinned the man and crushed his leg. Apparently the screws connecting the stop-bar to its pivot arms had become loose during the machine’s normal vibrations, which in turn ultimately caused the man’s devastating injury.

MiTek had redesigned this particular model of the machine, and in doing so replaced what had been a welded attachment of the safety bar, with a safety bar held on by a C-collar and screws. According to the Peoria Journal Star, after making the change, Mitek never bothered to test the new safety design, and they were “ignorant of the fact” that the machine’s normal vibrations could loosen the screws required to make the emergency stop work properly.

After the machine crushed the 19 year-old’s leg, a fellow worker used his belt as a tourniquet as rescue workers had to use the Jaws of Life to free the young worker. Ultimately he lost his leg above the knee.

After a 10-day trial for the young man’s Illinois personal injury lawsuit, a jury awarded him a total of $13,544,173. The jury cited MiTek as having 71 percent of the blame for the accident and resulting injuries, and the other 29 percent was affixed to the Deer Creek company for whom the man was working at the time of the accident. According to the Peoria Journal Star the verdict included $5 million for pain and suffering, $5 million for his disability and disfigurement and approximately $3.4 million for future medical expenses. The jury’s award was by far the largest liability verdict in the history of Tazewell County, in which the case was heard, and was a big step forward in bringing justice to the victim.

Attorneys for the young man said that the jury’s verdict is similar to others awarded throughout Illinois, and in other Illinois personal injury cases. Our Illinois personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in handling workplace and liability cases, and even obtained a $4.5 million Illinois record Jones Act settlement for a deckhand whose leg was crushed between two barges, resulting in an above-the-knee amputation.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a workplace or products liability accident, please contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights.