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Family of Illinois man killed in elevator shaft settles lawsuits

The family of a Bloomington maintenance worker who was killed in an elevator shaft back in 2015 has reached a settlement with McLean County and two companies for over $2.1 million. The 56-year-old man was employed by the county.

McLean County officials say they believe that when the man was killed, he may have been trying to retrieve something that fell down the shaft, which was located in the Law and Justice Center in Bloomington when he was killed. The man's co-workers discovered him.

The company that manages elevators in county buildings and another company that inspects those elevators will each pay $1 million in the settlement. McLean County will pay $125,000. The lawsuit against those three defendants filed by the man's estate will be dismissed as part of the settlement.

The county worker was born in Bloomington and remained a lifelong resident of the downstate city until his May 2015 death. He was survived by a wife, two daughters and seven siblings. He was fondly referred to as "Coach" because he had coached softball and basketball teams for many years.

When someone is killed in a work-related accident, more than one company or entity often bears some responsibility. It's not uncommon for all of them to try to pass the blame on to each other -- or the victim. Usually, nobody is willing to step forward and accept liability without a legal fight.

While it can be daunting to go up against powerful, well-funded businesses and government agencies, surviving family members should not let that deter them from seeking the compensation and justice they deserve as they move forward without their loved one. An attorney with experience handling catastrophic or fatal work accidents may be able to help.

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