A construction worker was tragically killed on a road construction site in Delano, Minnesota when a dump truck driver ran over her. She had gotten out of her vehicle right before being fatally hit by the dump truck.
Jaqueline J. Brueggemeier, a 55-year-old woman from Biscay, Minnesota, was working at a construction site on East Railroad Avenue in Wright County when she was killed, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. She was driving a dump truck for WM Mueller & Sons Inc. for the road construction project. She was outside of her truck when another dump truck, this one owned by Molnau Trucking LLC, backed over her. Her injuries were severe, and she died at the scene.
The October 25, 2017 accident is still under investigation.
Construction Site Accident Investigation
When a construction worker is killed on the site, the family needs answers. One particular area of concern is whether the at-fault driver was adequately trained and fully qualified.
Each year in Minnesota, there are over 60 fatal work injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Transportation accidents account for the highest number of fatalities and construction has the second-highest number of fatalities. In the accident that happened on Wednesday in Delano, both transportation and construction were involved. This has legal significance and affects the investigation.
Each area, transportation and construction, have specific laws that apply.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for enacting regulations on the transportation industry. Large commercial vehicles, including dump trucks, are subject to these regulations, with some exceptions. One of the exceptions is vehicles used for the following:
“the transportation of sand, gravel, bituminous asphalt mix, concrete ready mix, concrete blocks or tile and the mortar mix to be used with the concrete blocks or tile, or crushed rock to or from the point of loading or a place of gathering within an area having a 50-mile radius from that person’s home post office or a 50-mile radius from the site of construction or maintenance of public roads and streets” (Minn. Stat. § 221.025).
This raises several questions:
- Was the dump truck driver subject to the Minnesota DOT regulations?
- Was one (or more) of these regulations or another law violated?
- If so, what impact does that have on a lawsuit against the truck driver, owner of the dump truck, contractor and others?
Both Minnesota and the federal government have departments of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA). And both the state and federal OSHA rules and regulations may apply in any case involving a construction site.
The goal of OSHA laws is to ensure that companies take measures to keep all workers safe, including their employees, the employees of other corporations, and independent contractors.
Family Has a Wrongful Death Case if Company Other Than Employer is Legally Responsible
In these kinds of cases, for a family to have a wrongful death lawsuit (one allowing them to seek compensation for their loss) it is critically important to determine if a company other than the employer of the person who died can be sued. For example, if a Company A driver runs over and kills someone who was driving for Company B, there is a wrongful death case if the Company A driver is at fault. And in this example, the family may be able to sue both the driver for Company A and Company A. The lawsuit would seek money from both, and the insurance polices of both would be analyzed to determine the maximum amount available to the family under these policies.
This is a complex area of the law involving both workers’ compensation and wrongful death laws. With most construction projects, several companies are involved. In this tragic accident in Delano, Wright County has named two of the businesses involved, WM Mueller & Sons Inc. and Molnau Trucking LLC. It will take an independent investigation by an experienced Minnesota wrongful death lawyer to determine if these and/or other companies are legally responsible for this tragic loss of life.
Attorney Eric Hageman helps families that have lost loved ones because of careless and reckless driving. His recent recoveries include $6 million for one family. Two of his recent wrongful death settlements were dump truck accidents.