Worker Drowns While Working on Baylor University Campus Pedestrian Bridge Project



PUBLISHED BY: Schuelke Law

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers - Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2015 – According to this wrongful death case, Jose Suarez’s body was not located until four hours after a search crew began looking for him.

“Divers found Suarez’s body in 16 feet of water. He had drowned,” says Austin wrongful death attorney, Brooks Schuelke, not involved in the case. “Two men were tethered to a lift on a barge while working on the pedestrian bridge linking McLane Stadium and Baylor University. The barge rolled because the boom shifted, and both men hit the water, while still tethered in.”

The pedestrian bridge project, pegged at $9.1 million, is one portion of the $260 million project on Baylor University’s 93-acre site by the river.

The second man, Terry Watson, was under water for at least two long minutes before he was able to kick free of his harness and swim to the surface. When he surfaced, he had lost his bearings and several other workers on the barge pulled him out. No one made a move to go after Suarez. The water was freezing and Suarez had not come to the surface. Work on the bridge halted due to the accident, but work did continue on the stadium.

The statement of claim filed in this case makes allegations that the construction company may have tampered with the accident scene after Suarez died. Apparently there was no chain on the barge in photos taken by the police, but a chain appeared in pictures taken by the defendant company. The chain is relevant to the case, in that it would have been used to stop the lift from rolling into the river, had it been present. According to information from Mr. Watson, the lift was not chained down, a serious safety violation.

The civil wrongful death lawsuit is slated to proceed to trial in June 2015 and has several named defendants including Robishaw Engineering and Core Safety, Austin Bridge and Road, Flintco, Baylor, Flexifloat Construction Systems, Genie Industries Inc., Terex Corp., Austin Commercial Inc. and Derr and Isbell Construction Inc.

Negligence is one of the key requirements that need to be present in a wrongful death lawsuit. If the facts of this case do turn out to be true per the allegations in the statement of claim and as decided by a court, there is a high likelihood that the Suarez family will win their case.

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