Lawsuit Continues Over Illinois Construction Worker's Death | Law Firm Newswire

Lawsuit Continues Over Illinois Construction Worker’s Death

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 5, 2014 – A wrongful death lawsuit over last year's construction accident on the Northwestern University campus, which resulted in the death of an iron worker, is pressing forward.

Michael Kerr, 57, was killed on May 16, 2013 when a crane knocked a 70-pound beam off the sixth floor of a new building being constructed on campus. Kerr was standing on the ground floor when the 16-foot beam struck him in the head and chest. He was pronounced dead two hours later at Evanston Hospital. Kerr's son, also named Michael Kerr, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against general contractor Power Construction.

“Far too many workers are killed in construction accidents,” said Robert Briskman, a Chicago construction accident attorney not involved in the case. “If the contractor was negligent, then a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate to gain compensation for the family.”

Depositions are proceeding in the four-count lawsuit, which seeks a minimum of $200,000 in damages. According to the lawsuit, Power Construction failed to follow proper safety precautions, including inspecting the work environment and securing building materials properly.

In addition to the lawsuit, the accident led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to conduct a months-long investigation into the incident. In November, OSHA issued a citation to Power Construction, saying that the company failed to protect subcontractor workers from the danger of falling objects. The violation was classified as “serious,” and the company was ordered to pay a $7,000 fine and conduct training to prevent displacement of objects such as the beam that killed Kerr. An OSHA representative said that the company had met its obligations in regards to the citation.

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