Local 1185 Union Carpenter Recovers Settlement Following Trucking Accident ($1.5 Million)

A Local 1185 union carpenter recovered a $1.5 million settlement after suffering shoulder, neck, and back injuries following a trucking accident.

The Case

While heading southbound on Pulaski Avenue, near the intersection of Pulaski Avenue and 167th Street, a semi-truck operated by Werner Enterprises, Inc. crashed into a union carpenter’s vehicle while making a left turn. The carpenter was a member of the Local 1185 Union Carpenters.

In-Depth Look

“Initially, he hired a law firm touted as the largest personal injury firm in Illinois. He changed his mind less than two days later,” stated Michael T. Wierzbicki, a partner at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates and the attorney who represented the union carpenter. Wierzbicki focuses on commercial transportation and trucking litigation.

Wierzbicki filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Werner Enterprises, Inc. and its driver violated numerous Illinois statutes regarding the operation of a vehicle, which led to the injuries sustained by the carpenter. The case was removed to Federal Court, a common occurrence for trucking cases.

“Werner Enterprises admitted that a collision occurred, but denied the injuries were caused by the crash,” explained Wierzbicki.

The carpenter sustained severe injuries, including shoulder, neck and back injuries. The treatment included two shoulder surgeries, a neck surgery and hours of physical therapy and pain management.

Werner Enterprises disputed that the injuries were caused by the accident, arguing that shoulder, neck and back pain was a common complaint arising out of the carpentry trade.

“For years, Werner Enterprises, Inc. offered [him] next to nothing. We built a strong case against them, proving that his neck and shoulder conditions were caused by the crash and not his trade.  It wasn’t until we were approaching the trial date that they finally made a reasonable offer,” stated Wierzbicki.

The carpenter received a $1.5 million settlement from Werner Enterprises, Inc., which was nearly $1 million higher than any previous offers throughout the four years of litigation.

Wierzbicki finished, “It is always an honor to represent a tradesman. Although it doesn’t erase what Werner Enterprises did, the compensation they paid him will allow him to move forward a little more financially comfortably in life as he continues to deal with the physical injuries they caused.”