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Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

Category Archives: Wrongful Death


delaware dangerous

Delaware Is One of the Most Dangerous States to Be a Pedestrian

Pedestrians make up over 20 percent of all traffic-related deaths in Delaware each year, according to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DOT). It is one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the nation, just below Florida. The state is trying to change this with a public awareness campaign Walk Smart

The Walk Smart campaign was launched in 2018 and is a joint effort between the Office of Highway Safety and DelDOT, and aims to reduce these accidents by working with community law enforcement to reduce unsafe practices on the road.  The campaign will educate pedestrians on safe walking and crossing practices and stop violators.

Organizations such as Bike Delaware point to a lack of crosswalks, broken or poorly maintained sidewalks, median barriers, and a need for careful community planning; as reasons behind the number of pedestrian accidents.  While these infrastructure changes may be adapted, they take time. Meanwhile, pedestrian and cyclist accidents continue to happen throughout the state.

Unfortunately, accidents, injuries, and deaths are often blamed on the pedestrians themselves. Pedestrians are vulnerable to injury, and motorists should be extra cautious while driving in congested areas where pedestrians will be walking. 

Injuries to those on foot or on a bicycle in a traffic accident are serious, and can be deadly.  An injured pedestrian may need legal assistance to help them financially recover.

Those who have lost a loved one or have been injured in a pedestrian accident can contact Wilmington pedestrian accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for assistance. Call 302-407-0827 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, the firm serves clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

nursing home

Is Nursing Home Neglect Rising During the Pandemic?

Nursing home care is relied upon by many families when loved ones require special care due to age, senility, illness, and weakness. There are some troubling signs that excessive deaths have been occurring during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that are unrelated to COVID-19 infection.

The United States has around 15,000 nursing home facilities that provide housing, food, and care for their residents. Illness and mortality rates in these facilities are tracked and analyzed for trends. A recent study by the Associated Press (AP) estimated that for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, one resident died prematurely of other causes. These non-COVID-19 premature deaths were far above typical fatality rates. The total excess deaths that were not caused by COVID-19 could be as high as 40,000 or more since March 2020; this represents an approximate increase of 15 percent.

Like other health care systems, nursing homes are run with minimum staff capacity limits. Some experts believe there is not enough staff to care for residents in these facilities. In facilities where at least three in 10 residents suffered from COVID-19, the rate of death for other reasons was double the expected amount. The data seemingly indicates that the combination of the demands of care for COVID-19 patients, staffing limitations, and staff illnesses were likely responsible for the increase in fatalities.

Many health care settings, including nursing homes and assisted care living facilities, provide care with minimal staff that are often overworked and fatigued.  Many of the care providers lack formal education in established methods for providing optimum care to meet residents’ needs. The pandemic may have brought these issues to the forefront. These factors together may be causing the level of care provided in these facilities to be declining below acceptable levels in many of these facilities.

What are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

Malnutrition, misdiagnosis of a medical treatment, and development of bedsores are signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. These problems may go unnoticed by loved ones or caregivers until the situation is quite advanced. This leaves little time for effective intervention.

It is important to tell the appropriate authorities about signs of poor treatment. Formal complaints made to the facility, health care advocates, a state regulatory agency, a local health department, and the police are important. Loved ones as well as staff can file complaints that can address any of a number of concerns, including:

  • Neglect
  • Abuse and maltreatment
  • Minimal staffing
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Dietary inadequacies

Certified and licensed health care providers are required by law to notify regulatory agencies when signs of neglect, abuse, or exploitation of patients is witnessed. This includes any situation that appears to pose a threat to a resident.  Specific examples of reportable events include:

  • Patients missing from the facility.
  • Overmedication or undermedication.
  • Robbed of property or having funds misappropriated.
  • Diagnosed improperly, late, or not at all.
  • Unknown injuries.

These situations can result in danger, injuries, and even wrongful death. Investigations in response to complaints can uncover problems. Often, an unannounced visit is scheduled and an investigation is performed, including:

  • Observing the condition of the facility and individual patients that have been identified as potentially being neglected or abused.
  • Reviewing records of care provided.
  • Interviews with staff, complainant, other residents, and the patient’s family.

Legal Action and Possible Outcomes

Sometimes, a family will be unable to detect negligence or cannot obtain proper care for a loved one. In these instances, families are able to seek and recover compensatory damages through litigation. Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages to cover past and future medical bills, medical care, and other losses due to injuries. Non-economic damages for pain and suffering or disability resulting from negligence or maltreatment may also be recovered.

Sometimes, the facility is guilty of more than negligence, such as extreme recklessness. In this case, a family may also be able to pursue punitive damages against a facility. A court will award punitive damages as a way to penalize and hopefully incent the facility to increase its vigilance to avoid such conditions from arising in the future.

In either settlement negotiations or court ordered verdicts, the amount of the award is decided based on a number of different factors. A nursing home lawsuit examines the conduct of the facility and the impact it had on the individual. Factors that may influence the amount of an award include:

  • Age and quality of life of the individual prior to the negligence and abuse.
  • Extent of the physical injuries.
  • Costs of medical care related to the injuries.
  • Insurance coverage for the facility.
  • Jurisdictional history of handling similar cases.

A case may also be bought against a facility for wrongful death if neglect or abuse caused a patient to die.

Milford Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Protect Senior Citizens Against Abuse

We understand that the issue of nursing home care is sensitive, and we treat every case with utmost respect. Our Milford nursing home negligence lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow represent abused nursing home residents, and we are here to help. Call us at 302-422-6705 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

woman grieving

Can I Sue a Hospital for a Wrongful Death?

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. Most patients admitted to hospitals have expectations of recovering from the injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient who enters a hospital with a fair prognosis can meet an unexpected and untimely death. When this happens, the family left behind undoubtedly has questions about what happened. In some cases, the investigation into the matter turns up evidence of possible medical malpractice.

When the circumstances of the patient’s death points to a health care provider’s mistake or equipment malfunction, the patient’s surviving family may try to hold the hospital liable for the loss of their loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A lawsuit alleging a wrongful death is similar to a personal injury claim, the difference being that the injured person has died from the encounter. There are many kinds of defendants in wrongful death cases. For example, a person responsible for a fatal car accident can be sued for a wrongful death, or a company that manufactured a lethal product can be held liable for a wrongful death.

In accidental deaths of patients that occur in hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are sometimes named in wrongful death lawsuits that allege medical malpractice. The hospitals where the patients died may also be sued.

When is a Hospital Liable for a Wrongful Death?

The hospital can be held responsible for a wrongful death if staff or the hospital acted negligently. As mentioned, the malpractice of a hospital employee can be cause for a claim against the hospital. Examples of negligence that may be demonstrated by the hospital itself may have to do with negligence in hiring or managing its employees, supervising the medical care provided on site, or maintaining safe and effective hospital equipment.

A hospital can be on the hook for failing to ensure that its employees are properly licensed and safe to work with patients. Hospitals must be attentive during the hiring process as well as with the ongoing supervision of employees. The hospital can also be sued for failing to enact safety protocols, such as instituting appropriate handwashing practices, sanitation guidelines, and proper labeling and administration procedures for medications. The hospital may also be liable if they neglected to have enough staff on hand to handle the day’s workload.

A hospital may also be liable for medical equipment that they neglected to keep in working order.

What Types of Mistakes Constitute Medical Malpractice?

Doctors can be charged with malpractice if they misdiagnose patients, prescribe the wrong doses of medications, or make mistakes in surgeries. Nurses can be sued for malpractice if they make mistakes or omissions when taking patients’ vital signs, notating medical records, administering medications, or noticing worrisome symptoms.

Is the Hospital Liable for Having Negligent Independent Contractors?

Sometimes, doctors and specialists who are not employees of the hospital will see patients and even perform surgeries at the hospital. These non-employee caretakers have arrangements with the hospital to use the facility, but they are considered independent contractors. In general, hospitals bear no liability for the malpractice of independent contractors.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. A hospital may be held liable for allowing hospital privileges to a provider who is known to be unsafe. It may also be a problem if the hospital obscures the fact that the doctor is not an employee. The provider-hospital relationship is often laid out in the patient’s admissions documents.

How Can I Determine if the Negligent Practitioner is an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

If the provider has an employment contact with the hospital, the provider-hospital relationship is clear. However, there are some instances where the term independent contractor is used erroneously. Even if both the provider and the hospital maintain that no employment relationship exists, the circumstances of the arrangement may counter their understanding.

Things like how much control the hospital has over the provider’s schedule or service fees can determine if the arrangement fits the legally understood definition of an employee-employer relationship.

Who Can Bring Suit in a Wrongful Death Case?

In a wrongful death case, the patient’s surviving family members may bring suit, alleging medical malpractice against a provider or hospital involved in the death of their loved one.

In some states, the case can be brought by the estate for the benefit of the heirs, but in Delaware, only surviving family members may sue for damages. Such family members include the spouse, parents, children, and siblings of the deceased person, or any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage.

What Types of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Suit?

Survivors can seek monetary damages, including reimbursement of medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of the companionship of their loved one.

Are There Any Deadlines to Keep in Mind When Considering a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A claim of wrongful death must be filed within two years of the death of a loved one. If a bereaved family attempts to file a lawsuit after two years have passed, it is unlikely that the suit will be successful.

Should I Obtain a Lawyer?

In order to pursue a wrongful death suit against a hospital, a lawyer must be acquired. A lawyer will review the facts of the case and determine if a wrongful death suit is possible. Since there are deadlines, it is important to seek legal representation right away.

Delaware Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Hold Negligent Hospitals Accountable in Wrongful Death Cases

If you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent actions of a hospital or its staff, you may have a wrongful death case against the hospital. Contact one of our Delaware wrongful death lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow if you suspect a hospital’s negligence led to a loved one’s death. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

car crash

Fatal Car Crash Occurs in Greenwood on Sussex Highway

Fatal Greenwood Car Crash Occurs on Sussex HighwayOn Saturday evening, a fatal car crash in Greenwood, Delaware caused one driver to succumb to his fatal injuries. The accident involving a car and an SUV occurred at the intersection of Sussex Highway and Woodyard Road when the car pulled directly into the path of the SUV and hit its back-left side. Upon impact, the SUV rolled over several times and landed upside-down, leaving the driver fatally injured at the scene of the fatal car crash. The passenger of the SUV sustained critical injuries after being ejected from the vehicle while the driver of the smaller car suffered from minor injuries.

Accidents commonly occur in intersections for many reasons and may range from a minor collision to a serious car crash. Oftentimes, intersection accidents may result from driver negligence such as running a red light or failing to obey the traffic signs. About 40 percent of crashes occur in intersections and put car occupants and even pedestrians in extreme danger.

If you or your loved ones became seriously injured in a car crash, call our Milford car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, from our offices in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.

wrongful death

Wrongful Death After Car Accident

Wilmington wrongful death lawyers help families with wrongful death claims.Approximately four people suffer fatal injuries in car accidents every hour across the nation. Each of their deaths leave behind grieving relatives, including some who may have relied on the victim for everything from companionship to financial wellbeing. In fact, certain survivors of deceased car accident victims may be entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits, usually with the help of a personal injury attorney. Winning a wrongful death suit helps them receive financial compensation for their loss by holding the at-fault party liable for the fatality.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit may sound confusing, but it can be easily explained as akin to a personal injury lawsuit. When a victim becomes injured during a car accident, the victim may file a personal injury claim against the negligent or at-fault driver. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim either died immediately or soon after the collision as a result of injuries. The victim’s close relatives can file for damages.

What Causes the Majority of Highway Fatalities?

Every fatal car accident has unique characteristics. Nevertheless, many wrongful death lawsuits point to common causes that led to a victim’s death, including driver distraction, driving while under the influence, driver fatigue, aggressive driving, driving against the rules of the road, and even vehicle defects. Some contributors to highway fatalities, such as a faulty or defective vehicle part, can lead victims to pursue compensation from more than one at-fault party. For instance, if a vehicle’s airbag does not properly deploy, the airbag manufacturer may be held liable, as well as the driver of the vehicle that ran into the victim.

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Survivors who pursue wrongful death claims by filing a lawsuit may ask for compensation for a variety of reasons. These can include pain and suffering, cost for medical treatment, funeral costs, burial fees, loss of household income, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium, and even loss of nurturing. A knowledgeable attorney can help clients understand which damages to consider based on the situation and their relationship to the deceased.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Delaware, wrongful death lawsuits are limited to immediate family members. For instance, a spouse, children, or parents can usually file for wrongful death. However, anyone who feels they have a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit may contact a lawyer to find out if their status qualifies them to formally pursue this type of case.

What If the Victim Was Partially At-Fault?

If the deceased victim of a car accident in Delaware was up to 50 percent at fault, their survivors can still file a wrongful death claim. Delaware follows the rule of modified comparative fault, which means if the victim did not bear more than half the burden of negligence or at-fault behavior, the victim’s survivors may be entitled to compensation. The survivors must meet the burden of proof that the at-fault party was indeed negligent. Lawyers skilled in filing wrongful death lawsuits will make sure that all aspects of the crash have been noted and considered to obtain the maximum damages.

Wilmington Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Families with Wrongful Death Claims

If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a car accident, contact a Wilmington wrongful death lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow today. We will review your case and obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.

Overturned Truck

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Newark Leads to Fatality and Serious Injuries

Newark Tractor-Trailer Crash Leads to Fatality and Serious InjuriesA fatal tractor-trailer crash occurred in Newark, Delaware that left one fatality and several victims with serious injuries. On Tuesday evening, around 4:45pm, a tractor-trailer operated by a driver from North Carolina struck three vehicles before overturning on I-95. A 61-year-old man from Middletown, Delaware occupied the first car and became fatally injured at the scene of the tractor-trailer crash. Two other vehicles were forced off the road and went down an embankment. The one SUV carried a woman who incurred serious injuries and her child who is in critical condition while the other driver and tractor-trailer driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

In some truck accidents, the driver may lack enough experience or training to adequately maneuver the vehicle on congested roads. Many tractor-trailer drivers work long hours and may be dealing with driver fatigue, which adversely affects their driving abilities. Accidents involving tractor-trailers oftentimes will result in serious injuries or even fatalities for the drivers and passengers.

If you or your loved ones became hurt in a truck accident, call our New Castle truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as in municipalities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, from our offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.

violence

Gas Company Worker Falls Victim to Violence in Wilmington

Gas Company Worker Falls Victim to Violence in Wilmington

A gas company worker has died as the result of a shooting that happened in Wilmington on Monday afternoon. Two contractors from Delmarva Power and Light Company were working on a gas main when they were shot. Each gas company worker was taken to area hospitals, where one remains but is now listed in stable condition. The second victim succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

Workers who spend their days outside or at a work site may be in greater danger of becoming victims of violence. While hazardous conditions may exist at any workplace and in any industry, recent reports of workplace violence mean that the danger of being hurt on the job due to physical assault or worse is a very real concern. This is especially true when steps are not taken to ensure adequate security for workers in areas where crime is more likely to occur.

If you or someone you love was injured at work as a result of violence, contact the Wilmington work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as in communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County from our offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.

wrongful death

Foreman Killed During Demolition

New Castle Wrongful Death Attorneys discuss a wrongful death claim stemming from the loss of a foreman during demolition work.Demolition work is a particularly hazardous activity. It demands an extensive set of skills to safely bring down structures without damaging nearby buildings and people. Sadly, such work recently took the life of a crew foreman near Wilmington, Delaware.

A project to decommission an unused General Motors plant was underway when a tragic accident occurred. A cable being used to take down a steel beam snapped under the weight of the beam. The cable hit the foreman in the head and body, and he died almost immediately from those injuries.

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection is always performed to investigate workplace fatalities. Findings of the inspection will be released, and citations issued if violations of safety and health laws are found.

OSHA is a Small Agency with a Big Mission

OSHA is tasked with enforcing safety and health laws and rules designed to protect workers from unsafe or unhealthy workplaces. OSHA can issue civil citations to employers found in violation of its standards. If during an inspection they find an employer’s conduct was either an egregious or a willful violation of the law, it can also impose heightened fines.

Federal and state-based safety and health programs have a combined workforce of about 2,100 inspectors. There are approximately eight million worksites in the nation employing over 130 million workers. That means there is one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.

Despite its small size OSHA is still having a positive impact. In the more than 40 years since OSHA’s creation, the rate of workplace injuries and fatalities has gone down.

However, with recent budget cuts the agency has had to do more with less. At the same time, the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses has begun to creep up again.

Workplace Fatalities

In one recent year over 5,000 workers were killed on the job. This means nearly 14 workers are killed on the job every single day. Even a single death on the job is one too many.

Making the target of zero workplace fatalities a reality is something many employers and their employees strive for. OSHA keeps track of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities that are work-related.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2016 the top three jobs with the highest rates of fatalities are:

  • Loggers
  • Fisherman
  • Aircraft pilots and engineers

First line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers have the ninth highest rate of fatalities.

Wrongful Death Claims

If negligence or misconduct by an employer resulted in dangerous workplace conditions that caused a worker to die on the job, then the surviving family will be able to seek to recover pecuniary damages for wrongful death.

To prevail in a wrongful death case, the evidence must prove the employer’s negligence and that it caused the death, and that the family was financially harmed. States differ in the statute of limitations imposed on such cases. A wrongful death claim in Delaware must be filled within two years of the relevant death.

New Castle Wrongful Death Attorneys at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Surviving Family Members with Wrongful Death Claims

Dealing with an untimely death is emotionally and financially draining. It is not easy to begin a lawsuit during this stressful time. Yet the consequences of not filing in a timely manner can also be devastating. Allow the experienced New Castle wrongful death attorneys at Rhoades & Morrow to help you determine whether filing a wrongful death case is in your best interests. Call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705 or fill out an online contact form. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.

death

Construction Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers discuss wrongful death lawsuits following a construction accident. Working in the construction industry presents significant risks to its workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that over 18 percent of all workplace deaths in this country happen to construction employees.

In situations involving fatal construction accidents that were caused by another’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In most cases, wrongful death suits are initiated on the behalf of any surviving family members, or any other parties affected emotionally and/or financially by the loss. The cases are brought against defendants that have contributed to or caused a person’s death though intentional harm or negligence.

These lawsuits can be undertaken by surviving spouses, parents of minor children, and minors that lose their parents.

If the surviving person is an adult child, sibling, other close relative, or life partner, suing for a wrongful death can become more complicated. Laws vary by state, but it must be shown that the survivor was at least in part financially dependent on the victim.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

There are many kinds of personal injury cases that can become wrongful death claims. If the victim is killed on purpose, as in a murder, this would be an intentional act. Other examples include car accident deaths caused by negligent drivers, and medical malpractice suits.

OSHA points out that construction site fatalities commonly fall into certain categories. Electrocutions caused by power surges can occur if the work is not properly grounded and managed. Collapsed buildings can be deadly to workers; they can be crushed or fatally injured by falling or flying debris. Falls from rooftops, ladders, scaffolding, and high elevations also contribute to wrongful deaths.

Work-related construction accidents and injuries that lead to death may be required to go through the company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance; this may impact the amount of damages received. These regulations vary by state.

Proving Negligence

To prove liability in a construction accident wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant was responsible for the victim’s safety, but was negligent in this respect. The defendant also must show that this negligence directly caused the victim’s death, which caused the damages they need to recoup.

Damages for the Survivors

There are two main areas for damages:

  • Monetary: Money to pay for medical costs that were incurred due to the injury before death, funeral costs, and burial costs are probably the most immediate concern. Losing the victim’s future income and any inheritance can also be devastating, and potentially compensable as such.
  • Non-economic pain/suffering: Pain and suffering endured by the deceased and their survivors can qualify for a survival claim. This would be based on a loss of love and guidance, companionship and nurturing that the victim would have provided in the future. It could also include mental anguish, emotional stress, a diminished quality of life, and physical pain.

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help with Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Construction Accidents

Losing a loved one is traumatic, and is only made worse if it is due to another’s negligence. You need not suffer alone; call a Milford wrongful death lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We provide compassionate, experienced counsel in personal injury, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death cases. Contact us today by filling out an online form or call our offices in Milford at 302-422-6702, Bear at 302-834-8484, or Wilmington at 302-427-9500. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford.

death

Chicken Plant Injuries and Deaths

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers discuss chicken plant injuries and deaths. The United States Department of Labor reports that around 8,000 injuries are reported at poultry processing plants across the country every year. In October, a 59-year-old man died while replacing a pallet jack battery at southern Delaware chicken processing plant Allen Harim. His fatal work accident was one of a string of safety violations at chicken plants throughout the state in recent years.

Allen Harim had received over a dozen Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety violations over the past few years, raising questions about how safe poultry processing plant workers really are, and what can be done to better protect them on the job.

A Closer Look at Allen Harim’s Safety Record

In 2015, OSHA reprimanded Allen Harim’s operators, accusing them of not just failing to report worker injuries, but of also lacking the “proper medical oversight” to protect employees. They agency called medical management practices at the plant so inadequate that they created “fear and distrust” among workers.

Some of the problems OSHA found at Allen Harim include:

  • Excessively long employee wait times for the restroom
  • Job requirements, including repetitive motion and hard labor, that put workers at risk of harm
  • Improper equipment causing musculoskeletal disorders, including tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome

OSHA Penalties

In response to these violations, OSHA proposed $38,000 in penalties – an amount which Allen Harim challenged. A year later, The United States Department of Labor, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27, and Allen Harim reached a settlement. Allen Harim would pay one-third of the proposed fines and agree to upgrade equipment and revisit employee training.

The settlement’s conditions included a nonadmission of guilt on behalf of the poultry plant. A spokesperson for the Delmarva Poultry Industry asserts that injury rates among chicken processing workers are much lower than other agricultural industries.

Work Accidents and Wrongful Death in Delaware

Based on OSHA’s findings, Delaware’s chicken plant workers do not seem to be protected as well as they could or should be on the job. Surviving loved ones of workers who are killed on the job have legal recourse to seek accountability for a loved one’s fatal work accident.

The loss of a family member impacts their survivors emotionally, physically, and financially. The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to hold negligent parties liable for a loved one’s death, and recover financial compensation for their loss. The first step in a wrongful death suit is to demonstrate a third party’s responsibility for a preventable fatal accident.

Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is calculated based on the estimated financial loss a loved one’s passing will cost a family over time, in addition to non-economic losses like love, support, and companionship.

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Are Trusted Advocates for Surviving Family Members

Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow know what it takes to demonstrate liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. With our network of investigators and accident reconstruction specialists, we work to seek justice on behalf of your loved one. In addition to work accidents, we handle wrongful death suits for victims of car and truck accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice.

To learn more about your legal options and the best next step after a family member’s preventable fatality, schedule a consultation by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys proudly represent clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere and Seaford, as well communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

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