Family of Construction Worker Who Died After Falling Off of a Forklift to Receive 2 Million Dollar Settlement
Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) November 17, 2022 – Construction sites contain many hazards and risks that can cause serious injury or death to workers. Safety measures and training can help to minimize accidents, injuries and fatalities. Contractors, developers and subcontractors should ensure that their employees receive adequate safety training. They should also make sure that the employees are adhering the safety guidelines. Failure to train and supervise the employees may result in fatal accidents.
Construction worker Michael Montero was working at a Morris County, New Jersey construction site. He was standing on a pallet on a forklift. As it was being lowered, the forks on the forklift broke off, and Montero fell twenty feet. Although he was rushed to the hospital, he was pronounced dead minutes after arrival.
Montero’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Montero was not wearing a safety harness while on the pallet. It also claims that the forklift and the other drivers did not have safety training. The lawsuit states that earlier in the day of the accident, Montero and a co-worker were on the forklift at approximately 50 feet above the ground without safety equipment. Allegedly, the owner of the construction site watched with approval.
The owner and the subcontractor who employed Montero reached a settlement. They each paid $1 million. The lawsuit settled for a total of $2 million.
In New Jersey, the exclusive remedy for a workplace or work-related injury or death is to a file a worker’s compensation claim. If the employee dies in an accident or incident while in the course of their employment, their surviving dependents may file a worker’s compensation claim to seek death benefits. State law defines a dependent for worker’s compensation death benefits as a person who was a dependent at the time of the deceased employee’s injury or death. The list of possible dependents may include spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews. If there is more than one dependent, distribution of the death benefits occurs in the order set forth the New Jersey Division of Worker’s Compensation.
An exception is in the exclusive remedy law in the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act that permits work-related or workplace death claims to be litigated outside of the Worker’s Compensation Bureau. If the employer commits an intentional wrong that causes the injury or death of the employee, the injured employee or surviving family members, respectively, may file a lawsuit in civil court. The person seeking to file the employment-related death in civil court has the burden of proving that the employer committed an intentional wrong.
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Petrillo & Goldberg Law
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