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Construction Zone Wrongful Death Claim

Daniel Robert Toste, owner of a grading and paving company, was killed in June of 2010 in a construction related accident. Three years later, the victim’s son is suing the driver of the truck that killed his father, the driver’s employer, and the company which the driver was hauling for, which was also the company supervising construction. If an out of court settlement isn’t reached in this wrongful death claim, the case will be heard in court in March, 2013.

According to documents filed, Toste was killed when he was run over by a tire of a trailer hauled by driver Paul Michelson. Toste was pronounced dead at the hospital – Michelson is accused by Toste’s son of negligently causing his father’s death. Attorneys for the victim’s family feel that Michelson, as well as other listed defendants, had a duty to operate their vehicles safely and to ensure the safe operation of their vehicles at the work site – a duty that, once breached, resulted in the wrongful death of Daniel Toste. Michaelson stated after the accident that he didn’t know he struck anyone until he looked back and saw Toste on the ground.

There is Always Danger Around a Construction Zone

There is no safe zone within a construction zone. Construction zones are full of dangerous tools, heavy objects, sharp implements, and other conditions which pose a serious degree of risk to those who work around them. One of the big threats in construction zones, as illustrated by the Toste case described above, is heavy machinery. Trucks, tractors, trailers, and other types of heavy equipment pose a major risk to construction workers as they maneuver around construction zones. Most of what makes these heavy machines so dangerous is that their drivers can’t always see 100% of the area around the vehicle. However, this danger can be substantially reduced by using ground guides, or spotters.

A ground guide / spotter is a person who follows a vehicle on foot while maintaining communication with the vehicle’s driver. The ground guide will usually follow a vehicle in a position that lets the guide maintain a visual of the driver and the driver’s blind spots.  On exceptionally large vehicles, more than one guide / spotter may be required.

Those working in or around a construction zone where heavy machines are operated also need to make an effort to stay safe. This can be done by maintaining situational awareness of moving vehicles and wearing bright clothing – so drivers can see workers on foot. Specialty manufacturers make bright colored, sometimes reflective safety clothes for construction professionals. While not very fashionable, these accessories can save lives in construction zones.

Wrongful Death Compensation

In the U.S., the law allows survivors of persons killed to recover compensation for the person’s death if the death was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another. While any accident that results in death can be tragic, proving negligence or recklessness is not always so cut and dry. The law is clear as to what elements, or facts, must exist in order for a wrongful death claim to be successful. Failure to prove any one of these elements and the case could fail. This is why cases of this type are so sensitive and should only be handled by experienced wrongful death attorneys.