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Bridge collapse kills 1; workers' compensation possible

While many people in Illinois see road construction as a nuisance; once completed, though, it is likely an endeavor that will ease the strain of traffic in an area. When drivers pass through a construction area, they likely fail to recognize the risk that workers face. One out-of-state worker was killed recently after a bridge collapsed during a road-widening project, potentially leading to a workers' compensation claim.

The collapse occurred just after 10 p.m. one morning in January. The bridge was apparently in the process of being taken down at the time. During the collapse, reports indicate that debris struck a 35-year-old man who was operating a backhoe. A tractor-trailer also struck the fallen debris, but its driver is expected to survive.

A local civil engineering expert claims that the collapse was likely due to human error. According to the engineer, improperly demolishing the bridge could have caused one of its expansion joints to fail. Various organizations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, have launched investigations into the fatal accident that caused the closure a major interstate for approximately 24 hours.

The deceased man leaves behind four children. Because of the loss of his income, family members may now be wondering how they will provide for these children. However, since states require employers to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees, there may be some financial relief available. In addition to providing compensation for lost wages, these benefits also cover funeral expenses and related financial losses. Many people in Illinois have found that assistance from an experienced attorney helped as they sought all of the compensation applicable to their circumstances.

Source: ksla.com, "Local expert: Failure of joint on overpass could have caused collapse", Jennifer Baker, Jan. 19, 2015

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
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