Archive for March, 2013

Greenwich Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Homeowners By Worker’s Family

Nearly three years ago, tragedy struck for the family of a 27-year-old immigrant, working on a renovation project on a $1.14 million home in Greenwich.

Our Connecticut wrongful death lawyers understand that the worker was powerwashing the foundation of the couple’s home when part of the porch foundation broke away from the primary structure, which collapsed the trench in which he was standing. He was buried alive.

Dozens of emergency workers frantically tried to save him by rushing to lift the slab off of him. Sadly, it was too late. A coroner determined he died of head injuries.

The lawsuit filed by the worker’s family alleges negligence by the homeowners and the construction and landscaping companies, as well as recklessness against the latter two entities. During the course of his work, the lawsuit states, the worker was given neither a ladder nor a helmet. Additionally, the trench in which he stood was not properly shored according to federal safety guidelines.

The family says that the landscaping and construction firms failed in their duties with regard to providing a competent person to inspect the ongoing excavation and also to maintain safe conditions inside that trench. The homeowners are also accused of not maintaining all the proper documentation with the town in regard to the full scope of the renovation work being conducted on their home.

The lawsuit seeks redress for the fear and harm that the worker endured, as well as the medical bills and other expenses that his family was forced to shoulder in the wake of his passing.

Fire officials at the scene reportedly told local news reporters at the time of the incident that it could have been avoided simply by ensuring proper trench shoring methods. In fact, just to extract the worker’s body safely from the site, responders needed to install wooden planks to hold the walls of the trench upright.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration had been called in to investigate. Among the violations were failure to provide proper head protection for workers in the trenches and a failure to properly secure the excavation project.

Some of the actions OSHA requires of construction workers during trenching and excavation work are:

  • A competent person has to inspect the excavation site and adjacent areas every day before the work begins, as needed throughout the shift and after every rain;
  • Subcontractors must be notified of the trench location, precautions and the proper safe distance;
  • Ladders and other means of egress are required.

Initially, OSHA fined the construction company $17,000 for violation of five different safety hazards. However, that fine was later reduced in half as a result of a settlement agreement.

An OSHA representative stated the agency “tries to work with” smaller companies, particularly given the tough economy. But an $8,700 fine does not seem to be much of a deterrent, and it does absolutely nothing for this worker’s family.

Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by callingĀ  1-800-WIN-WIN-1. The Hartford office is located at 100 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105.