Two members of a paving crew died at a Greenville, Virginia (VA), worksite after getting hit and dragged by a dump truck. The fatal on-the-job accident happened at the intersection of U.S. 11 and U.S. 340 in Augusta County on the afternoon of July 12, 2016.
The deceased victims have been identified as 38-year-old Felimon Aizpuro II and 50-year-old Debbie Huffman. Local television station NBC29 reported that that the dump truck driver received an all-clear signal before backing up and striking the road crew members:
“Early indications are the truck driver thought it was alright for him to back up as another worker at the scene had motioned him to go back,” said Sergeant KL Hyden of the Virginia State Police. “He was unaware that the two people were either behind or beside his truck when he was backing up and they were caught by the truck and sucked underneath the rear wheels of the truck.”
If that description is confirmed by Virginia State Police investigators, the family members of the construction workers who lost their lives could have strong grounds for filing wrongful death claims through the state workers' compensation system. When safety protections and procedures break down at any worksite or place of business, employees have an absolute right to hold their employers accountable for negligently causing injuries and deaths.
Another factor that may have set the stage for this deadly on-the-job accident is that the audible backup signal on the truck may not have sounded. Such an equipment failure could make the company that owns the dump truck liable for settling claims for putting workers' lives at risk. The maker of the backup alarm might also bear some liability if its product is found to be defective.
When the shock and sadness of these sudden, likely preventable, losses abate, the loved ones of the deceased workers should consider consulting with a Virginia wrongful death attorney who can help them navigate the workers' comp and insurance claims systems.