A construction worker claims he sustained fractures to his back and nerve damage to his right arm after a co-worker accidentally struck him with a tree.

Frank Schwertmann claims he was working in Madison County for Keller Construction on Sept. 16, 2009, when a co-worker, who was operating a hydraulic excavator manufactured by defendant Kobelco Construction Machinery, picked up a tree with the machine, swung it around and struck Schwertmann, who was standing behind the excavator.

Because of the incident, in addition to his back and arm injuries, Schwertmann had to undergo surgery to his right arm, incurred medical costs and lost wages, according to the complaint filed Aug. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court. Schwermann also experienced a diminished earning capacity, experienced pain and suffering and endured a diminished quality of life, the suit states.

Kobelco Construction allegedly negligently failed to design an excavator with sufficient mirrors to allow its operator a clear field of vision, failed to design an excavator free from visual obstructions and failed to design the cab so that the operator can see people located behind the cab, the complaint says.

In his two-count complaint, Schwertmann is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs.

John H. Leskera of Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-906.

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