Last week in Nebraska, a worker on a construction site was injured when a skid loader backed over him, causing him to suffer two broken legs. The injured worker was on a road construction project. The skid loader had just dropped a load of dirt and the injured worker got behind it to check grade when the operator of the skid loader put the machine into reverse and backed over the injured worker. The reverse alarm on the skid loader was not operational.Obviously, the worker in this construction accident is entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. Worker’s compensation benefits in Illinois include three basic benefits: (1) two-thirds of your average weekly wage while you are off, known as TTD, (2) payment of your medical expenses, and (3) a lump sum for permanency associated with the injury.Additionally, as an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, I would start to ask the following questions to determine whether this man could pursue a third party liability lawsuit as well:
- Were the injured worker and the operator of the skid loader co-workers? If they were, the exclusive remedy would bar the injured worker from suing the employer of the operator. If not, the injured worker would be able to file a third party liability construction accident suit against the employer of the operator?
- Was the skid loader ever equipped with an operating reverse alarm? If not, there may be a basis for a third party liability suit against the product manufacturer.
- Who owned the skid loader? If it was leased and there no operating reverse alarm, there may be a basis for a third party negligence suit against the leasing company.
The worker hurt in this construction accident suffered serious injuries, and while worker’s compensation benefits are clearly available to him, compensation commensurate with his injuries will only be had through a third party liability suit.