Construction Accident Attorneys

Given the nature of a construction site, accidents are sadly not uncommon. Construction site accidents range from collapsed scaffolding and ladders to electrocution, faulty flooring or ceilings, falling objects, forklift accidents and defective equipment. However, there are laws in place regarding the safety of construction sites. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you may have a viable lawsuit and may want to consider a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who has experience in construction accident cases. If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled or already receiving workers’ compensation. Still, wherever you are in the process, it can only help you to talk to a lawyer with experience in this type of law.

After carefully listening to what happened to you, your lawyer will be able to advise you on the viability of your case and who may have been negligent. You may not have thought that the following parties should compensate you for your injury but it could just as easily have been one of their errors or omissions that caused you to be injured:

– Equipment manufacturers
– Architects
– Sub-contractors
– Engineers

If one of the parties above did not adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations or state and/or local regulations and ordinances or other safety precautions, that party may be a potential defendant. Again, your lawyer should understand the facts of your case and be well versed in the area of construction safety law. Then, your lawyer will be able to determine which party or parties may have been negligent and how. Keep in mind that it never hurts to get a second opinion – this is the case with doctors as well as free consultations with lawyers. You want to find the right lawyer for you – one who listens to you and understands your case and the law and who will not be afraid to fight for you.

Also, keep in mind that the more organized you are, the better. Maintain photos of your injuries, the work site, your hospital records and the names and contact information of all witnesses. You may have already incurred significant medical bills and lost wages, not to mention pain and suffering and you may be entitled to compensation for these losses and future losses. If you are concerned about affording an attorney, note that you do not have to pay anything to a personal injury lawyer. The way it works is that if you do not get a settlement or other award, you do not have to pay your attorney. If you do get a settlement or award, you pay your attorney from that amount. You should not put forth any money for research, expert fees, etc. Your personal injury lawyer will cover all of that as the cost of doing business.

Vintage Illinois Pocket Watches – Collectible Pocket Watches From the Illinois Watch Company

Illinois pocket watches are just one of the brands of collectible timepieces sought by watch collectors internationally. The firm was originally established in the state of Illinois in 1869 under the name Springfield Watch Company, named for the town where the factory was located. In 1875, the name was changed to the Illinois Springfield Watch Company after an assets transfer and then it was changed again after a second reorganization took place in 1878. Henceforth, the company was known as Illinois Watch Company and remained so until it was purchased by the Hamilton Watch Company in 1927. Hamilton continued to use the Illinois brand on pocket watches until 1939.

While the manufacturer is no longer with us, their pocket watches live on due to their finely constructed mechanisms. Illinois watches are probably some of the most collectible in the vintage marketplace simply because of their extremely high quality. Fortunately for collectors, these vintage Illinois pocket watches are not that difficult to find, especially at online auctions.

Below are a few of the most popularly collected models. You can find some of these items now being auctioned online.

Illinois Ball Pocket Watches

Railroad-grade pocket watches made by the Illinois company are particularly collectible. One of the railroad watches sought by most Illinois collectors is the 16 size, 23 jewel, Illinois Ball pocket watch. About 3,500 hundred of this particular watch were produced by Illinois between 1927 and 1935.

Some of the other desirable Illinois railroad watches include the Sangamo, the Illinois Bunn pocket watch, the Bunn Special, and the A. Lincoln. Each of these were made available with 18 size movements and were put to use by railroad employees of the time. Of the Bunns, the most collectible is the one made after the Hamilton Watch Company took over the Illinois production facilities in 1928. A 16 size watch, the Bunn Special featured technological improvements by Hamilton and had a 60 hour movement.

Illinois Pennsylvania Special Pocket Watch

In addition to watches branded under the Illinois name, the watch manufacturer also specialized in private label brands for a variety of companies, including H.M Jacobson (the Pennsylvania Special, which is a Bunn) and the Oskamp-Nolting Company Ben Franklin watches.

The Illinois 26 Jewel Pennsylvania Special is an 18-sized watch. Its dial and movement are engraved with the name “Pennsylvania Special”, and it can be adjusted to six different positions.

This is just a small samples of vintage Illinois pocket watches that are available. If you really decide to get into collecting them, it is a good idea to pick up a book on collecting watches. There are a few that cover just watches manufactured by the Illinois company, the best of which was written by Bill Meggers, entitled “American Pocket Watches – Illinois Watch Co”. Unfortunately, it is as nearly difficult to find as some of the rarer Illinois watches themselves.

Carlos Lattin House – Sycamore, Illinois – Historic Architecture Abounds – NRHP

Carlos Lattin was the first permanent settler in the DeKalb county seat of Sycamore, Illinois. Lattin arrived in Sycamore in 1835 and constructed a log cabin near the site of present-day downtown Sycamore, just north of Downtown Shoes, at 307 S. State St. (Illinois 64). The site is marked by a plaque at that address.

In 1854 Lattin had a new home constructed in the 300 block of Somonauk St. The 1854 Greek Revival house still stands and is considered part of the Sycamore Historic District. The home also exhibits the traits of the Upright and Wing style shown in the Lampert-Wildflower House in Belvidere, Illinois, although it is executed more elegantly here, in the Greek Revival Lattin House.

Lattin worked as a farmer and lumber dealer, eventually serving as DeKalb County Treasurer. He also worked as a correspondent for the Chicago Democrat.

The Sycamore Historic District became part of the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1978.

Online Resources

*Carlos Lattin House: 1970s photograph

*Wikipedia: Carlos Lattin House, Sycamore Historic District (by me – as are the related articles)

*Sycamore Historic District: National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form

Follow the Gonzo trail to Lee County tomorrow, with a quick stop before we hit Dixon. Stay tuned.

A note about Sycamore’s historic district: There are over two hundred properties in the boundaries of the Sycamore Historic District. Of those 187 are contributing properties to the historic district, 22 are non-contributing. Of all of the district’s homes and buildings 75% fit the historic district concept. Some of the major structures include several Queen Anne style mansions, the town library, the county courthouse, and dozens of mid to late 19th century houses.

Librarians and Houses – Polo, Illinois – Historical Architecture and the NRHP

Polo, Illinois is a small city of about 2,500 in Ogle County, a county whose largest settlement has less than 10,000 people. The rural communities in Ogle County are astounding and filled with history, art and architecture, if you know where to look. Armed with a list of sites in Polo from the National Register of Historic Places, I started looking at the Polo Public Library – a building that is one of five in Polo that share that status.

The Polo Library is a Carnegie Library that was constructed in 1903-04. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The librarians were friendly, giving me contact information for Polo citizens affiliated with historic preservation, and, most importantly, providing me with directions to an elusive lime kiln nearby. The woman I spoke with chased me down in the cold of January several blocks from the library because she had given me the wrong email address by mistake. Very kind.

Also in Polo is a cluster of architecturally important houses, all near each other, and all listed on the National Register, two of them the work of Joseph Lyman Silsbee (wiki) one of which reminds me of the important, earlier Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Winslow House.

Silsbee was an influential and very important American architect. He served as an early mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and was very influential on the young architect and other architects of the Prairie School. While the house is pretty obviously Classically influenced, some of the trademarks of Prairie style that Frank Lloyd Wright would later make famous are clearly visible, including leaded art glass and a low pitched roof. The building was constructed from 1899-1901 and added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1993.

Behind the Bryant and Lucie Barber House is another Silsbee work, this one older. The 1891 Henry D. Barber House is more Classically obvious than its neighbor but still not what I would call a high-style example of Classical Revival. It’s an important work by an important architect, one that can be compared and contrasted with his other work, next door, from eight years later. The Henry Barber House was listed on the NRHP in 1974.

The other house listed on the National Register in Polo is across Mason Street from the two Silsbee works. It’s an ornate Queen Anne style mansion known as the John McGrath House. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) hasn’t made the NRHP nomination forms available online (despite their assurance to me that they were available) for any of the listed buildings in Polo so I don’t know much about the McGrath House. I submitted a request to the National Park Service, and the IHPA but haven’t heard back from either of them.

What I do know about the McGrath House is that it was designed by someone named George W. McBride. Unfortunately, the only George W. McBride I know of served as a United States Senator from Oregon. Though the senator was alive in 1896 when the house was built, he was not an architect and had no affiliation with Illinois anywhere I can find. I can only conclude that it is someone different. The McGrath House was listed on the NRHP in 1996.

Employee Classification Act – What Illinois Contractors Should Know

In January of 2008, Illinois passed the Illinois Employee Classification Act (820 ILCS 185/1-999). In essence, the Act purports to prevent the misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor while conducting construction related activities. The law is basically an effort to prevent contractors from avoiding the payment of overtime benefits, payroll taxes, Workman’s compensation, etc.

However, many view the Act has yet another overreaching piece of legislation intended on benefiting a few while harming a great many small business owners. For instance, the new law requires that no unincorporated or unorganized sole proprietor or partnership be classified as an independent contractor unless they satisfy all twelve elements enumerated in the Act. This applies to construction, trucking, landscaping and related trades, as defined under the Act. In essence, the law provides more narrow but explicit definitions of what constitutes an independent contractor.

This places the risk directly on the contractor should any of its independent contractors actually be classified as employees under the new law. Of course, this seems burdensome to the contractor since they may now be faced with having to require that each of their unorganized subcontractors organize to avoid any potential risk.

The most significant issue under the new law appears to be filing income taxes. The sole proprietor must file his or her income taxes relating to the independent business to avoid being classified as an employee under the Act. Seemingly, contractors conducting construction and the other related activities are now directly at risk for any such failure of their subcontractors to file.

This law would also seem to certainly benefit the labor unions. Labor unions or any other interested parties, including competitors, former employees or anyone else can report a construction or construction-related company using “employees” as independent contractors. (The AFL-CIO and Teamsters strongly supported the passage of this law).

The effects of this new law could potentially be staggering. Besides the obvious disadvantages to contractors, the labor unions will now apparently enjoy even greater power to force unionization. This could be very detrimental to small business in this State. But, keep in mind, the law is new and no interpretative regulations or decisions yet exist. Many have argued against the constitutionality of such a wide-sweeping and overreaching piece of legislation. However, until the law is repealed or amended, contractors take the conservative route.

Requiring that each independent subcontractor incorporate or otherwise organize is impractical. Fortunately, requiring incorporation is not required, only the most conservative approach recommended by many practitioners. I advise that contractors utilize an independent contractor agreement drafted specifically to comply with the provisions of the new law. Any contractors already using such agreements should have their attorneys review them to ensure compliance with the Act.

Contractors need to maintain avoidance of the qualifications typically defining an employee under Federal and/or State law. This includes control over the subcontractor, including hours, equipment, methods of work, among other items. Thus, any independent contractor agreement should specifically address the qualifications used to determine the definition of an employee under all applicable laws, including the Act.