The family of a 45-year-old man to plunged to his death from the Santa Margarita Parkway Bridge while working on it, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, county and state, according to an article in The Orange County Register. Gregory Wolters of Mission Viejo died when he was attempting to cross the bridge. Officials believe he may have thought there was a solid median between the roads and dropped 100 feet down, the article said.
Wolters worked for Econolite Traffic Engineering and Maintenance Inc., a company contracted by the city to work on traffic control equipment. He is survived by his wife, Kellie, and two daughters, ages 13 and 14. The family alleges in the lawsuit that the bridge was “designed negligently” with poor lighting and weak railings and that it does not conform to highway safety standards. The plaintiffs’ attorney also told the Register that there were no cautionary signs posted on the bridge or additional lighting. The report states that this was the second accidental death on that bridge since 2005.
The city, which says it is not liable for the accident, called it a tragedy and said Wolters was not supposed to be walking in the interior part of the bridge, but should have been in his vehicle inspecting the traffic lights. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages to compensate his family for lost income and other losses such as health care. The bridge has two roadways going in opposite directions with a gap in between. The city is planning on designing a new railing system that will also go on the interior portion of the bridge, the city engineer told the Register.
Wolters’ family certainly has a right to file a lawsuit and pursue their rights if they do it timely and properly. The news article did not mention exactly when Wolters fell, which could be a real problem for the family. A lawsuit against a governmental agency can only be properly filed after making a claim directly to the governmental agency and the agency rejecting the claim. Without making the claim and being rejected the family has no standing to file a lawsuit.
At Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys we have dealt with numerous on-the-job injuries and we have found that most of the serious or fatal injuries occur because of a pre-existing dangerous condition at the work site. If you have a similar case or have been involved in such as work-related injury, call us to find out about your legal options – 1-800-259-6373.