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Victims' families get $16 million for fatal accident in grain bin

Relatives of two teenagers who perished in a grain bin accident in northwestern Illinois in 2010 will receive a total of $16 million. News reports show that each family will receive $8 million after a jury trial in the matter. A lawsuit was brought against Consolidated Grain and Barge Company after the fatal accident. That company reportedly intends to appeal the civil verdict, arguing that it did not employ the teen workers and was not responsible for their safety. The company that owns the facility had already settled with the victims' relatives.

Official reports show that the owner of the grain facility, Haasbach, was cited for a whopping 25 violations in the wake of the fatalities. The fatal workplace accident was reportedly caused by several factors, including lack of training and failure to provide adequate safety equipment. Further, the teens had not been provided with an emergency action plan, and policies did not call for de-energizing machinery at appropriate times.

Even more appalling is the fact that one of the decedents was just 14 years old when he was killed during the grain accident. That victim, along with a 19-year-old worker, was helping to move corn onto a conveyor in a grain elevator. That grain elevator contained product owned by Consolidated Grain and Barge. The younger teen began sinking in the corn, and the older worker died when he attempted to save him. A third victim was also buried up to his neck while attempting to save the youngest victim; that 20-year-old man survived and received a $875,000 financial award. Haasbach was found to have violated child labor laws by allowing workers younger than 18 to perform dangerous jobs.

The settlement is the largest on record in Carroll County, according to news reports. Attorneys in the case emphasized the fact that the case was not only about the money, but also focused on ensuring that the company's negligence was made public. Victims who have suffered the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident may be entitled to damages. An Illinois attorney may be able to provide more information.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "$16M award in deaths of 2 teens in grain bin accident" Meredith Rodriguez and Jennifer Delgado, Feb. 07, 2014

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