The gig economy brands itself as a no-strings-attached way to make money, when in fact, it is the workers who are least likely to benefit from the less formal nature of the employment relationship. An increasing number of people work as independent contractors in almost every industry. Even when workers are employed full-time with a staffing company, they are often assigned to a series of short-term jobs; under these circumstances, things get complicated when determining who is responsible for preventing accidents at work sites. In a work environment such as a warehouse for construction materials, the work is dangerous enough that there is a high potential for catastrophic accidents. Meanwhile, not all the workers are employees of the warehouse; instead, they are receiving paychecks from various staffing companies, sometimes as employees and sometimes as independent contractors. Thus, premises liability lawsuits in these cases are more complex than the classic premises liability lawsuit scenario in which a customer at a restaurant gets injured when he or she slips and falls.
Details of the Sylvester Roulhac Case
Sylvester Roulhac was, by all accounts, a hard-working person. At the age of 71, he was working as an industrial trucker; his employer was ProDrivers, the industrial staffing branch of the Atlanta-based staffing company EmployBridge. His latest assignment was at the Kloeckner Metals warehouse in Pompano Beach; Kloeckner is a German company with its main United States branch also in Georgia.
On September 16, 2019, was driving his tractor-trailer in the warehouse, about to pick up a load. A pile of steel beams, weighing more than three tons, collapsed as he passed by, and fell on him, killing him. The beams were so heavy that it took several hours for deputies of the Broward Sheriff’s Office to remove them and retrieve Roulhac’s body. An investigation into the details of the accident is ongoing, and Roulhac’s family has received no more information about it than what has been published in the news.
On November 14, Roulhac’s wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kloeckner, alleging premises liability. The lawsuit also names Joseph Watt as a defendant; Watt is the regional manager in charge of Kloeckner’s Florida offices.
The Legal Issues
This wrongful death lawsuit falls under the category of premises liability. It is based on the assumption that the owner of a public facility has a duty to keep visitors to the property safe, whether those visitors are workers or customers. It strengthens the plaintiff’s case that the accident happened while the victim was carrying out his usual job duties and was not acting recklessly in a way that would cause an accident. The plaintiff alleges that it was Kloeckner’s responsibility to prevent accidents like this one.
Contact Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers About Premises Liability Cases
If you have been seriously injured in a preventable accident at an industrial warehouse or other worksites, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to find out your legal options. Contact Palm Beach County premises liability attorneys at Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers for a consultation.