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Fatal Anaheim On-The-Job Accident

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Arturo Gonzalez, 34, died in an Anaheim construction accident after a forklift tipped over and crushed him. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Gonzalez, working for subcontractor Padilla Construction, was plastering stucco on a new condo complex at the time of the accident.

Another worker who saw a 75-foot tall machine called the “boom” fall on Gonzalez, said he was completely crushed on impact. Officials are interviewing site workers and supervisors to determine what went wrong with the equipment and what caused the accident, according to Maria Sabol, spokeswoman for the Anaheim Fire Department.

I offer my condolences to the Gonzalez family and Arturos friends. The man is at work, earning a living and someone else’s negligence costs him his life. Heartbreaking!

Officials are still investigating what caused the Anaheim fatal construction accident. However, from the news accounts it appears to me that the scoop may have been over loaded and the forklift inadequately secured to the ground.

Clearly, the Gonzalez family is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through the employer, Padilla Construction. Workers’ compensation benefits in California are embarrassingly inadequate to compensate a family for the loss of income from a primary breadwinner, much less the loss of spouse and parent. I believe there is a “third party” claim here.

A “third party” claim is a claim against someone other than the employer (or co-employee) or against the employer if the employer does not have the injured employee properly covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

To the Gonzalez family a “third party” claim may be worth twenty times more than the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to. For this reason the Gonzalez family needs to be consulting with an attorney skilled in not only “third party” construction accident claims but how to maximize the net compensation to the Gonzalez family by minimizing the workers’ compensation insurance carrier’s claim.

I’ll bet the contractors on this job site have already contacted their insurance companies. I’d also bet the insurance companies have their investigators and attorneys looking into this case already, all of them looking for ways to protect the company’s interests. Who is out there protecting the interests of the Gonzalez family? If I was representing the Gonzalez family I would want the forklift, the “boom” as they called it, immediately secured in its present condition to be used as evidence. I would not want anyone to alter the equipment to try to shield anyone from responsibility for this man’s death.

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