Across the Bay Area and right here in San Jose, college campuses are gearing up for the influx of returning students preparing to start classes in the next few weeks. Many colleges and universities in the area are using this week and next to make last-minute improvements to their facilities to ensure a smooth transition for their students and faculty as the academic year begins.
San Jose City College is one of those institutions doing just such work but it recently experienced a tragic accident during a construction digging project on campus. While operating a large tractor, a worker backed the vehicle up and drove on to a sidewalk. A 49-year-old grandmother was on the sidewalk at the time and was hit by the tractor. Though the work crew immediately came to her aid and she was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for treatment, the woman succumbed to her injuries and died.
At this time the cause of the fatal accident is unclear though an investigation into this matter is now in the hands of the San Jose Police Department. While it is not uncommon to hear about construction site accidents such as fatal falls or roofing accidents where workers are hurt or killed, the death of a bystander in this case raises serious questions as to how well the site was secured to keep non-workers out of danger.
Preston Pipelines, a subcontractor Gilbane Construction, was the organization performing work at the time of the accident. Pursuant to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Preston Pipelines has had two accident investigations in the last five years. Investigators may look at the details of this accident to see if this company has a systemic problem of failing to provide safe construction site conditions for workers and those who come close to their operations.
As the family of the victim copes with her loss, they may consider their legal options for seeking redress against the party or parties responsible for her death. Wrongful death lawsuits are available to people who suffer financial hardship due to the death of someone who provided for them and that was caused by the negligence of another party.
Source: NBC Bay Area, "SJ City College IDs Woman Killed on Campus," Kris Sanchez, August 14, 2013
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