Two Florida Deaths by Elevator and One Wrongful Death Suit
More common sources of injury such as vehicle accidents and medical malpractice account for a significant percentage of wrongful death suits in the state of Florida. As two recent unusual and unfortunate cases demonstrate, however, tragedy can strike in unexpected places–and a local Fort Lauderdale attorney may be able to help you find answers.
Two Families Suffer from Tragic Elevator Deaths
As recently as January 3rd of this year, a twelve-year-old Florida boy was searching for his missing hamster in his Bradenton home one Saturday morning. Tragedy struck during the search when the child was accidentally crushed by the home’s elevator. First responders declared the child, a Boy Scout and avid collector, dead on the scene. His family has requested donations to a fund to benefit children and animals in need in lieu of flowers. The reason for the elevator’s untimely activation, whether an accident or due to a safety defect, has not been reported.
The Bradenton family’s loss follows on the heels of another family, struck with unfortunately similar circumstances, announcing their intent to file a wrongful death lawsuit. On July 28 of this past year, a twenty-five year old construction worker was on break during the construction of a multi-story dormitory on the Florida State University (FSU) campus when, unexpectedly, the elevator near the window lowered, pulling the worker between the elevator shaft and the wall. The young man subsequently died of chest trauma as a result.
Filing a Wrongful Death Suit
In the wake of their loss, the family of the construction worker recently notified FSU of their intent to file a $15 million wrongful death lawsuit. The family hopes to recover for their son’s death on the grounds that the university failed to take adequate safety precautions for the dangerous worksite or properly supervise the operation of the elevator. Previous regulatory reviews of the employer’s worksites conducted by OSHA have revealed prior safety violations, and the OSHA investigation into this matter itself recently concluded, resulting in several willful citations for exposing employees to crushing hazards.
In fact, police investigation has already revealed that at one time, a plywood guard had once been installed in the window to prevent workers such as the victim in this case from sitting in it. For reasons unknown, the guard had been removed for full month prior to the incident. Further, the individual who activated the elevator has already admitted to being aware that workers were sitting in the window and had intended to warn them, but for reasons unknown, failed to do so. The operator admitted to FSU police, “I done took that man’s life.”
When a family loses a loved one, especially in tragic or unusual circumstances, seeking the help of an attorney is often the last thing on anyone’s mind. In the case of the twenty-five year old construction worker, investigations into the matter have already provided answers, and their wrongful death suit intends to seek compensation for their loss. If you have lost a loved one in unusual or dangerous circumstances, consider reaching out to Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney Scott Newmark for assistance during this difficult time.