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Corboy & Demetrio Obtains $4.8 Million Settlement for IL Worker’s Foot Injury

03.16.2022

Corboy & Demetrio has obtained a settlement of $4.879 million on behalf of Joseph Gonzalez, an iron worker who suffered a serious foot injury on Jan. 8, 2018, after a girder was dropped on his foot at a construction site in Tinley Park, Illinois.

Mr. Gonzalez and his wife Michele Gonzalez were represented by Corboy & Demetrio Partners Philip Corboy, Jr., Edward G. Willer and Michelle M. Kohut.

“This is a textbook case of the serious injuries that can occur when a company fails to have an adequate safety plan. Mr. Gonzalez’s injuries were entirely preventable,” Corboy said.

Mr. Gonzalez was working on the construction of a new warehouse when he rigged a 40-foot, 8000-pound steel joist to a crane operated by defendant, Jeffrey Williams of Williams Crane Rental.  While Mr. Gonzalez was moving to a safe zone, Williams lifted the girders without first receiving a signal, as safety protocol required.  In doing so, an unsecured girder lifted with the secured, rigged girder and became loose, falling on and crushing Mr. Gonzalez’s left foot.

In the crushing of Mr. Gonzalez’s foot, he suffered multiple comminuted fractures of all of his toes leading to amputation of toes two through five and a partial amputation of the big toe. As a result of the initial injury, Mr. Gonzalez was subsequently diagnosed with torn meniscus of his left knee with surgical repair and Hoffa’s fat pad disease of the right knee with surgical repair.

This construction negligence lawsuit alleged that defendants Williams Crane Rental and Williams failed to identify the signal person before attempting to lift a load and lifted the load while Mr. Gonzalez was in the staging area.

Also named as a defendant was Morgan/Harbour, the general contractor for the jobsite that was hired to provide full-time construction management and to oversee safety for the construction of the warehouse.  In fulfilling its obligations under the contract, Morgan/Harbour hired a full-time superintendent who was charged with supervising the subcontractors and ensure that the work was done in a safe manner. 

“Williams, the crane operator, admitted that there was no designated signal person and that everyone served as a signal man.  This unsafe work practice led to confusion, contradictory signals, and the load being dropped on Joe Gonzalez’s foot, Willer said.

“The general contractor failed to adequately inspect, supervise and direct the work at the site; its contract with the project owner required that Morgan/Harbour be solely responsible for all construction means, methods, techniques and procedures on site.”

The case settled four years after the incident on Feb. 10, 2022.

Case No: 2018 L 004989; Joseph Gonzalez and Michele Gonzalez v. Morgan/Harbour Construction, LLC;  Williams Crane Rental, Inc.;  Jeffrey R. Williams;  Kingery Steel Fabricators, Inc.; Vulcraft, a Division of Nucor Corporation;  and Atlas Crane Service, Inc.;

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