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Unsafe working environment: Trash truck allegedly kills flagman

Construction zones on busy Missouri highways are hazardous areas for workers and motorists alike. Drivers have to navigate through a variety of warning signs and lane changes in a manner that will not endanger the workers who maintain, repair and build the roadways. Drivers who fail to keep a lookout for modified speed limits, reduced numbers of traffic lanes and detours may cause injuries to workers present in an unsafe working environment.

A 47-year-old member of a construction crew recently lost his life under such circumstances. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the man was acting as a flagman to control traffic in a construction zone on Highway 13. He had stopped the southbound traffic when a trash truck driver failed to reduce speed and smashed into the rear of a stationary car before leaving the roadway.

The impact caused the car to rear-end the vehicle in front of it, and, at that time, the trash truck re-entered the roadway and struck the flagman and another vehicle. The worker died, and three of the drivers who were involved in the chain reaction suffered injuries. An investigation that includes a reconstruction team is reportedly underway.

It is not uncommon for workers in an unsafe working environment to suffer injuries that are sometimes fatal. The surviving family members of a deceased worker are typically entitled to pursue death benefits through the Missouri workers' compensation system. However, in a case such as this one in which the worker's death is caused by a person unrelated to the construction company, the family members may have a viable third-party wrongful death claim against the truck driver and the owner of the trash truck. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess the circumstances of the death and provide guidance related to pursuing compensation through the civil court system.

Source: komu.com, "Construction flagman killed in northwest Missouri accident", Nov. 12, 2015

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