Firefighter sues attorney claiming statute expired before injury suit filed

Andrea Dearden Aug. 23, 2012, 4:47am

A former Washington Park volunteer firefighter is suing an attorney he says waited too long to file a complaint over injuries he allegedly received while working a fire.

William J. Wirtel filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Matthew B. Woods and Eng & Woods, Attorneys at Law.

Wirtel says he was a fireman with the Washington Park Volunteer Fire Department in January 2011. While battling a fire, Wirtel says a hose broke loose from a hydrant and hit him, causing serious injuries to his leg, pelvis and Achilles tendon. Wirtel says he retained Woods as his attorney in November 2011, months before the yearlong statute of limitations expired.

Wirtel contends Woods should have known the deadline to file a complaint against the City was a year from the date the injuries occurred. He says the attorney failed to file a lawsuit within that timeframe and, therefore, allegedly caused Wirtel to lose the opportunity to recover a substantial amount of money. Wirtel accuses both Woods and the Eng & Woods law firm of negligence and asks to be paid more than $100,000 in damages plus court costs.

Attorney Robert J. Sprague of Belleville represents Wirtel.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-420

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