Erik Sanchez, 30, was killed in an Anaheim industrial accident on November 17, 2008 when an 18-wheeler pinned him against a loading dock at a refrigerating storage facility, The Orange County Register reports. The fatal 11/17/08 on-the-job accident occurred at VersaCold Logistics in Anaheim.
Sanchez did not work for VersaCold but was a pest control worker doing his job around the exterior of the facility. Anaheim police officials say Sanchez was walking below a loading dock as the 18-wheeler was backing up into the dock to pick up a load of food. Sanchez did not see the truck backing up and was crushed against the dock. Sanchez died from massive head trauma. The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) is investigating this incident.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Eric Sanchez. It is indeed a horrible tragedy. Here was a man trying to do his job and earn a living and a moment of inattention on someone’s part cost him his life. It’s heartbreaking!
Anaheim police officials say Sanchez was not paying attention to the 18-wheeler backing up. But I question the practice of backing up a large truck in a commercial docking area without first ensuring no one was in the way.
The Sanchez family would certainly be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through his employer, the pest control company. However, workers’ compensation benefits in California are painfully inadequate to compensate a family for the loss of income from a primary breadwinner, let alone the loss of a loved one. I believe there is a “third party” claim here. A third party claim is a claim against someone other than an employer whose negligence may have caused the accident and resulting injuries. A third party claim may be worth a lot more to the Sanchez family than the workers compensation benefits that they are entitled to.
The Sanchez family should be consulting with an Orange County personal injury lawyer skilled in third party claims. They need an experienced attorney who will remain on their side and fight for their rights.