Gerson Hernandez, 27, suffered fatal injuries on the job after he was pinned under collapsing palm fronds on September 22, 2012. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, Hernandez was trimming a palm tree in the 1400 block of North Martel Avenue in Hollywood when he was trapped under the fronds. Hernandez was about 30 feet above the ground at the time of the accident. Officials stated the victim could have been crushed or asphyxiated by the fronds, which can weigh up to half a ton. The cause of death has not yet been determined. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Gerson Hernandez for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Accidents Involving Tree Trimmers
According to most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tree trimming is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations, with 2,070 injuries reported in 2009. In the United States, between 2006 and 2008, 184 tree trimmers and pruners were killed. The most common causes of these fatal tree trimming accidents included fall to a lower level (79); struck by a falling object including tree limbs or fronds (41); and contact with electric current (30).
Causes and Compensation Issues
Based on this news article, it is not entirely clear as to what led to the victim’s fatal injury accident. There are several unanswered questions here. How experienced was the trimmer? Who was his employer? Was he provided with sufficient training for the job? Did he have adequate safety equipment required for the job? Was he supervised at the time? Was there a dangerous condition on the property? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
In such cases, families of deceased workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, victims’ families may be able to file a third-party claim against a party, other than the employer, whose negligence caused the accident. Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products. Families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.