Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Lakeland police have arrested and charged three Walmart employees with manslaughter in the February death of a shoplifter.

Police said just after 3 a.m. Feb. 7, a 64-year-old man stole nearly $400 worth of DVDs and ran when he was confronted by employees.

The employees chased him down and at some point, the man fell to the ground and was held there by the employees.

The man stopped breathing and the employees called 911. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition, but later died.

During an investigation, the Medical Examiner determined the man died of mechanical asphyxia due to restraint and that the man had 15 broken ribs.

The three Walmart employees charged were a 35-year-old support manager, a 23-year-old customer service manager, and 58-year-old employee for loss prevention.

Walmart issued a statement Friday afternoon:

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these events. The status of the associates involved continues to be reviewed. We’ll continue working with law enforcement officials, as we have from the beginning, while conducting our own review.

If it can be demonstrated that Walmart’s employees used an unreasonable amount of force, or acted unreasonably in detaining the suspected shoplifter, they could face liability for wrongful death and even false imprisonment in a lawsuit by the deceased man’s relatives.

Employers must be cautious about what their employees do in regards to shoplifters because employers may be legally responsible for the harm caused by their employees’ actions. Customers, including shoplifters, may be able to hold the employer liable when they suffer injuries or are harmed by employees or wrongfully detained by employees for suspicion of shoplifting.

As this case shows, it is possible to hold the employee’s legally responsible for their actions, but usually employers are the target of lawsuits because they have bigger insurance policies than their employees, which means if they are successful in proving their claim, they will receive a larger financial settlement.

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A Tavares man was killed after being crushed by pallets of dirt and mushrooms at a Zellwood processing plant.

The 45-year-old man was moving pallets with a forklift late Monday night — some weighing between 800 to 1,000 pounds — at Monterey Mushrooms on Sadler Road when the stack of trays started shaking, according to an Orange County Sheriff’s Office report.

The man jumped off the forklift and tried to run, but the pallets fell on him, according to a witness.

He was taken to Florida Hospital Apopka, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.

Monterey Mushrooms has not released a statement.

The aftermath of a crush injury can be devastating. Sadly, crushing accidents are one of the top killers when it comes to workplace accidents. Because of the serious nature of these injuries, employers have an obligation to make sure that their workers are protected from crush injuries at all times.

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Crews responded to a construction accident at a parking garage on the Miami Dade College Campus Friday.

The accident happened around 2:30 p.m. at the West Campus at 3800 Northwest 115th Avenue in Doral.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said two injured construction workers were being treated on the third floor for their injuries. According to reports, they had to hoist them down to the ground before transporting them to the hospital. One is believed to have suffered a leg injury.

The accident is currently under investigation with MDFR.

Reports indicate that one of the concrete plates that interconnect to make up the structure, came crashing down on the third floor. Crews are not calling the accident a collapse at this time.

MDC released the following statement after the accident: “There was a construction incident at MDC’s West Campus garage that is currently under construction. There are some minor injuries reported. Because it is Friday, there are not many classes taking place or many people around. Classes and operations have not been impacted. The Campus is open.”

Crews began construction on the $22.5 million, five-story garage to accommodate the increasing number of students at the campus in January 2012. That October, part of the nearly completed garage collapsed, killing four workers.

Miami Dade College reached a $33.5 million settlement with the contractor and subcontractors hired to build the garage after the collapse occurred.

Working on a construction site is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. As this case shows, construction accidents injure or kill thousands of workers each year. Construction accidents account for one in five workplace fatalities in America. Accidents like these happen when safety engineers are negligent or when safety programs are absent. Regardless of what type of injury was suffered, the injured worker is entitled to some kind of compensation. A Florida Worker’s Compensation Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help injured workers and families pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims to make sure injured workers are fully compensated for any damages suffered.

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A 29-year-old construction worker was killed Wednesday after a piece of heavy machinery being hoisted by a crane fell and hit him as he stood on the 37th floor of an Edgewater condo building.

According to reports, the man was working on Biscayne Beach Condos, located at 711 NE 29th St., when a piece of equipment weighing more than 2,000 pounds fell at about 4 p.m.

When rescue workers arrived, the man was dead already dead.

Miami police are investigating the accident.

Construction work is a very dangerous industry. Workers are expected to perform difficult physical labor, sometimes at great heights, and usually with heavy machinery. Any number of accidents can occur on a daily basis on construction sites. In 2012, 183,000 construction workers were injured in job-related accidents in the United States. Another 775 were killed. In fact, each and every year there are more work-related injuries in construction than in most other industries.

OSHA has four categories of construction worker injuries labeled as “the fatal four” due to the fact that they account for nearly 60 percent of construction worker deaths. These four injuries are falls, electrocutions, “struck by object,” and “caught in-between.”

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Tracy Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Walmart following the catastrophic trucking accident that left him severely injured and killed another passenger. The New Jersey accident happened in June and ended up making national headlines after a truck driver smashed a tractor trailer into the rear end of the comedian’s limousine.

The lawsuit was filed on July 10th in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Morgan, along with three other survivors filed the suit naming Walmart as the defendant. The complaint alleges that Walmart was negligent and responsible for the driver that crashed into the limousine.

Tracy MorganAccording to a report released last month, the truck driver was traveling at 20 miles per hour above the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike when his tractor-trailer struck the rear of the Mercedes limousine van. Morgan suffered multiple fractures that required several surgeries. Morgan has since been released from the rehabilitation center and is continuing his recovery at home. The comedian will also have to endure aggressive outpatient treatment. The lawsuit names additional plaintiffs, including Morgan’s wife, who was eight months pregnant when the accident happened. The crash also killed 63-year-old comedian James McNair, who was better known by his stage name Jimmy Mack.

When a trucking accident occurs, it is very important for an independent investigation to be conducted in order to determine the exact cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. A Florida Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can uncover the facts of your car accident and pinpoint who is responsible.When a vehicle that is involved in an accident is owned by a company, such as Walmart, it is very important to consult with an attorney who can aggressively protect your rights. In cases like these, the driver can be considered an agent of the company, which means both can be held liable for accidents and injuries.

The lawsuit alleges that Walmart knew about or should have known that the 35-year-old Georgia driver had been awake for more than 24 consecutive hours at the time of the crash. In fact, federal trucking regulations restrict the number of hours a driver can work behind the wheel without sleep. Any federal trucking violation can be used as evidence for negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The initial investigation into Morgan’s crash revealed that the driver had not slept for nearly 24 hours before the crash occurred. The truck driver was actually arrested following the accident.

The state of New Jersey has found the truck driver criminally liable for the accident, charging him with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The driver has entered a not guilty plea. If the driver is found guilty in the criminal case, the results can be used as evidence of negligence in the civil lawsuit.

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As National Safety month continues throughout the month of June, week 3 focuses on being aware of your surroundings.

According to the National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts” for 2014, contact with objects and equipment was responsible for 15.1 percent of workplace deaths in 2011. This was also the second leading cause of missed days from work in that same year. These injuries can happen due to falling objects or mistakably being hit by a moving vehicle, like a forklift or car.

To help avoid injuries from contact with objects or equipment, the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton recommend the following for situational attentiveness and workplace safety:

  • Neatly store any and all materials.
  • Store all items at heights that are secure.
  • Heavy objects should be stored close to the floor.
  • To prevent a tip over, only open one filing cabinet drawer at a time.
  • Wear proper attire for your workplace setting, such as steel-toed footwear.
  • Do not overload moving equipment.
  • Do not operate any machinery or equipment that you are not trained to use.
  • Always exercise added caution when coming around corners or when you are near doorways.
  • Make sure all safety devices on equipment are in good working order before using them.
  • Exercise added caution when walking around corners and near doorways.

workplaceThe NSC’s mission during the month of June is to prevent unintentional injury and death by drawing attention to safe practices. As part of this effort, our personal injury attorneys in Florida urge everyone to be attentive and conscious of their surroundings.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death due to another person’s carelessness or negligence, contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton for help. Our personal injury law office handles all types of accident, injury and wrongful death cases.

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Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday and taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

Their conditions were unknown late Monday, according to the Fort Lauderdale Fire rescue Division.

One construction worker was buried under the collapsed scaffolding and three others were left dangling in the air for about two hours.

Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.

Four construction workers were rescued from collapsed scaffolding under an Interstate 95 bridge in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.

The men were part of a crew working under the southbound lanes that extend over the New River between State Road 84 and Davie Boulevard. The collapse was reported on Monday around 3:30 p.m. near the 2000 block of Southwest 21st Avenue.

It took the firefighters a bit more time to rescue the workers due to unforeseen circumstances.

As the Tri-Rail train travelled by on the train bridge, it would cause vibrations. Even the cars driving by caused the scaffolding to shake.

Eventually, the one worker was extricated from the rubble of the scaffolding. Another two workers were brought down with an extended bucket truck.

The location of the fourth victim over the water required a Technical Rescue Team to get involved. A firefighter was lowered on a harness and attached himself to the dangling worker. They both made it to the ground by 5:15 p.m.

Scaffolding is a platform or other type of structure that is temporarily used to help build, install or repair an area that cannot be reached by a ladder or another tool. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are approximately 4,500 scaffolding accidents every year.

Scaffolding accidents can occur in a variety of situations, but most of these accidents involve the following:

  • Scaffolding that is wrongly constructed
  • Scaffolding that is improperly manufactured
  • Supports that Collapse
  • Broken Scaffolding
  • Slick or Slipper Surfaces on the Scaffolding
  • Defective Equipment
  • Insufficient Safety Training

The height in scaffolding accidents can result in very serious or even fatal injuries. Injuries often include broken bones, severe fractures, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, paralysis and death. On top of the physical harm suffered in scaffolding accidents, victims and their families are usually left to deal with a great amount of financial and emotional stress. Medical bills, lost wages and disability are all cost factors that could be an issue following such a serious accident.

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