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Wrongful Death on the Job

A recent story out of West Palm Beach, Florida reads a bit like a horror story, but when you go into the facts of the matter, things actually get worse. In short, a West Palm Beach sewer plant worker was doing his job at the city's wastewater treatment plant when a metal grate beneath him broke, gave way, and allowed him to plunge into one of the tanks. The poor man died from this fall, and now the issue is under intense scrutiny and investigation.

That is all horrible enough, but it is the obvious negligence involved in the incident that makes it all so terrifying. You see, the grate that caused the fatal fall may have been moved out of its normal position, but experts believe it probably collapsed under the victim's weight. And this was not because he was of such a substantial weight that he bent metal, it was because the plant was actually full of such safety hazards.

In an online article investigating the accident, it was determined that the city had actually been given a 100+ page report about the safety hazards throughout the plant where the accident occurred. However, almost all of the deadly threats (ranging from corroded walkways and broken materials to cracked walls and weakened concrete) were ignored and left unrepaired.

The governmental responses that most would expect - including formal statements from the city's administration insisting that none of those safety violations led to the man's death - and yet many wonder if there are liabilities to the city. After all, they are supposed to maintain the utmost safety for all workers whether they are in an office or a wastewater facility. The city's failure in this instance led to a man's death, so there must be some sort of liability, right?

Wrongful Death Can Happen on the Job

Just because you are doing work around dangerous machinery or in dangerous settings, it does not relieve your employer of the responsibility to keep safe premises. In fact, the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) insists on all places of business maintaining very specific levels of safety.

When upkeep or repairs as well as safety standards and rules are not done and injury or death results, it is often going to be explored in order to determine if there was negligence at work. If so, it is usually deemed a wrongful death, and those who are survivors of the individual killed in the incident can pursue compensation.

For example, depending upon the findings of the investigation in the case of the Florida sewer worker, the survivors may be able to seek damages from the city. These could include a loss of the quality of life because of that wrongful death on the job, the loss of financial support, and even the loss of love and emotional support because of the man's death.

Legal Help Is a Must

Of course, they should consult with a legal expert first because they do have a bit of a battle ahead. In this case, the family would still have to prove that the death was due to negligence on the part of the employer, and that there was pain and suffering to the worker before death.

This is actually not complicated, but the city is already trying to say it has no fault in the man's death. If the family can prove otherwise, they can seek compensation to the fullest degree possible. Naturally, this is not something that is easily done, and especially when you are the grieving survivors of someone who has died due to negligence.

If you have a loved one who seems to have suffered a wrongful death on the job, have your case reviewed by an attorney specializing in liability. They can guide you towards the next step and help you receive compensation due to you.


AllLaw.com. Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit…2015. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/filing-wrongful-death-lawsuit-construction-accident.html

Mossavat, Vada. First Report on West Palm Beach Sewage Plant Worker's Death Inconclusive! 2015. http://www.gossipextra.com/2015/02/20/herminio-padilla-report-death-sewage-plant-west-palm-beach-4485/