Lawsuit filed after I-90 construction accident in Elgin

The wife of a worker who was seriously injured in a construction accident in Elgin earlier this month filed a lawsuit against a crane operator and others.

Mechanical engineer Rudolf Das of Naperville spent nearly three weeks in intensive care at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge after he was crushed by a 20-foot crane component Dec. 1 while working on a barge under the Jane Addams Tollway bridge over the Fox River, attorney Jim Morici said.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Cook County, names the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Kenny Construction Co., Imperial Crane Services, Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., and Hammer and Steel Inc.

The lawsuit, which seeks "substantial damages," states Das was crushed by a jib, a component affixed to a crane, said Morici, of the firm Morici, Figlioli & Associates in Chicago.

"During of course of the work they were doing that morning, (the jib) came loose and fell and struck Mr. Das," he said.

The defendants failed to provide a safe workplace for Das, Morici said. A vibratory hammer was being used at the time of the accident, which made the presence of the jib unsafe, he said.

"The jib should not have been left affixed to the boom. It should have been stowed somewhere," he said. "The job they were doing included a certain amount of vibration, which some people stated caused the jib to fall."

Wendy Abrams, chief of communication for the Illinois Tollway, said the agency had not been served with the complaint as of Monday evening. "It would be premature for us to comment at this time," she said.

Representatives of Kenny Construction Co., Imperial Crane Services, Edward Kraemer & Sons, and Hammer and Steel were not immediately available for comment.

Das, who left intensive care in the last few days, has undergone multiple surgeries to both legs and faces a long road of recovery that will include more surgeries and long rehabilitation period, Morici said.

"He may be able to walk with some assistance, but he'll never be able to ambulate the same way," he said. "He probably will never be able to resume his proper occupation as a mechanical engineer."

Das' wife, Jona Das, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Her husband was undergoing plastic surgery to repair his broken nose and cheekbones Monday evening, she said.

"He's still confused, but he can remember his name," she said, adding he recognizes her and their two daughters. "He said his birthday, the building number, but he still doesn't know he had an accident."

Das nearly died following the accident, which also caused a head injury of unknown extent, Morici said.

"It's a high multimillion-dollar damages case," he said. "We think the liability is extremely strong against these various corporations."

Morici also said that Hammer and Steel filed a lawsuit against Das' employer, Indiana-based K&S Engineers, seeking the return of the hammer equipment used at the work site.

A fundraiser to benefit Das' family via Give Forward had raised $3,430 as of Monday evening.

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