A recycling worker killed on the job in Rancho Cucamonga on December 10, 2008 was identified as 41-year-old Efre Aceituno-DeLeon. According to this news report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Aceituno-DeLeon was fatally injured as he was working on a trash-collecting truck at CR& R Waste and Recycling. He was pinned under the truck tag axle. The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) is investigating this incident.
My heart goes out to the family of Efre Aceituno-DeLeon, who was tragically killed when he was simply trying to do his job. I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved this man.
A huge challenge for families of deceased or seriously injured workers is to deal with the financial hardship that follows. Medical or funeral expenses, hospital bills and loss of wages cripple these families economically. The DeLeon family will certainly be entitled to receive workers’ compensation through Aceituno-DeLeon’s employer. However, workers compensation benefits in California are woefully inadequate to compensate a family for loss of income from a primary breadwinner, let alone the loss of a loved one.
Aceituno-DeLeon’s family would be well-advised to consult with an experienced California on-the-job injury attorney, who will tell them if there is a “third party claim” here. A third party claim is a claim made against someone other than the employer, but could be held responsible for the accident, injuries and/or wrongful death. In this case, the accident could have happened because of a defective product that caused the recycling truck to malfunction. In that case, the manufacturer of the defective product could be held liable.
I would also advise the Aceituno-DeLeon family to insist that the recycling truck be preserved in its current, damaged condition so it can be carefully examined by an expert for malfunctions, product defects and other evidence. This family definitely needs a reputed California personal injury lawyer on their side, fighting for their rights and working hard to get them the compensation they rightfully deserve.