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Trench Collapse Injuries in Illinois

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

illinois construction injury lawyerOne of the most dangerous jobs on any construction site is working underground in a trench during a variety of different projects. In fact, hundreds of workers are injured each year in trench collapse accidents, and, according to a report issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, over two-thirds of those injuries happen to workers with small construction firms (those with fewer than 50 employees).

Fortunately, workers who suffer those sorts of injuries do have options. If the injury was caused by a third party, the worker or their family may be able to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death suit against the party responsible. Alternatively, the worker may also have a worker’s compensation claim open to them for the wide array of potential injuries that may result from trench work.

Types of Injuries

Working in underground trenches can bring workers into contact with many different hazards. One of the most obvious is the possibility of the trench collapsing, which can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. However, there are other dangers as well. Workers digging trenches must be careful to avoid utility lines like gas pipes or electricity. If the company or the city did not properly inform the workers of the line’s placement, the workers could be at risk for electrocution or injuries from explosions. Additionally, trenches and similar underground work areas often suffer from poor ventilation. Without proper care to ensure fresh air for workers, they run the risk of suffocation.

OSHA Standards

Because of these many dangers from trench work, OSHA has produced a set of regulations that govern what steps companies should take to ensure the safety of their workers. In addition to preventing accidents before they happen, the regulations can also be useful in lawsuits for demonstrating that a third party, like a subcontractor, acted unsafely when building the trench. Some common safety steps that OSHA requires include:

  • - The use of trench boxes to prevent wall collapses;
  • - Utility mapping and soil quality testing prior to excavation;
  • - Air quality tests to determine the levels of oxygen as well as certain poisonous gasses;
  • - Inspections of the stability of the trench following a rainstorm;
  • - Proper safety barricades surrounding trenches to prevent worker falls; and
  • - A prohibition on overhead work in the areas above trenches.

However, those steps are just some examples of the precautions set out in the OSHA regulations.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered an injury from a trench collapse or other construction work, contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our experienced team of lawyers works with clients in towns across the northwest suburbs, like Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, and Crystal Lake, to help them get the compensation that they deserve.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

9 Tips on the Rights and Safety of Bicyclists in Illinois

Web Admin - Monday, October 14, 2013


Motorists may not respect bicyclists on the road, but there are steps bicycle riders can take in order to gain esteem. According to the “Bicycle Rules of the Road,” in Illinois, the best way to avoid harm on a bike is by being prepared for danger and obeying traffic laws.

It is important to note the specific laws directed toward bicyclists riding on the road with other motorists in cars, trucks, and semi-trucks. The following knowledge can help bicyclists avoid a personal injury accident:

  1. Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic. Riding in the opposite direction is illegal.
  2. When riding on a sidewalk, bicyclists must obey all pedestrian signs and yield to the right-of-way rule for pedestrians.
  3. Bicyclists must stop for school buses dropping off children.

As a bicyclist, your on-the-road rights include:

  1. Motorists must provide at least three feet of space between them and a bicyclist when passing.
  2. Bicycles may be parked on the road at any angle to the curb where parking is allowed.
  3. At a traffic light, a bicyclist may proceed after yielding to oncoming traffic through a red light that fails to turn green after waiting at least 120 seconds.

Safety is a key factor a bicyclist has to remember. A few proactive protection measures to contemplate are:

  1. Make sure the bicycle is working properly, such as brakes, reflectors, seat and handlebars. A helmet may be considered an essential part of a bicycle, so also be aware of a helmet’s functionality.
  2. Ride as close to the edge of the road as safely possible to maintain distance from motorists, but be mindful of broken glass, grates and parked cars.
  3. Avoid riding at night. If you do ride at night, Illinois law requires that a bicycle must be have front light visible from at least 500 feet and a rear reflector visible for up to 600 feet. Wearing white or reflective clothing can also aid in safe riding.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, are standing by to assist you. Contact our Illinois personal injury attorneys by calling 847-934-6000 or by visiting our Chicago office located at 233 S. Wacker, Suite 8400.


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