Delano police officials have identified a 19-year-old female security officer who died in an industrial accident at a SEARS warehouse on January 17, 2009, as Rosemary Montiel. According to this news report, Montiel was found in a small electrical security patrol cart, pinned under a trailer, by other security personnel who were looking for her. SEARS workers had lost contact with her prompting the search. Police are still investigating how this fatal industrial accident may have occurred.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and co-workers of young Rosemary Montiel for their tragic loss. My heart especially goes out to the co-workers who found her pinned under a trailer.
I trust the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) is investigating this industrial accident. Based on this news report it is not at all clear how the accident occurred or how Montiel came to be pinned under the trailer.
According to Cal-OSHA’s 2005 statistics, a total of 453 people were killed in industrial accident in California. Out of these fatalities, 38 involved workers who were struck by a vehicle or other mobile equipment.
I would suggest Montiel’s family get in touch with an experienced California on-the-job injury attorney who will examine investigation reports and determine who or what caused this accident. Montiel’s family would be entitled to get workers compensation benefits. But California workers compensation benefits are so meager that they are hardly sufficient to financially compensate a deceased worker’s family to pay for medical or funeral expenses and loss of wages, let alone the loss of a valued and beloved family member.
In workers compensation cases, “a third party claim” is usually worth a lot more to injured victims or the families of deceased victims than the workers compensation benefits they are entitled to. A skilled personal injury lawyer experienced in handling product defect cases would have an expert carefully examine the equipment that caused Montiel’s fatal injuries to see if there was a malfunction or product defect. In such cases, the equipment manufacturer or vehicle manufacturer could be held liable.