Regardless of the job, the workplace is one in which employees should feel as safe as possible and free from harm’s way. While at work, employers have the legal responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for their employees. No matter the occupation, employers need to have all safeguards possible in place to protect employees from workplace injuries or death.
Unfortunately, accidents in all types of work environments occur, including a recent incident in which a Chicago dancer died during rehearsal, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. During the rehearsal on Chicago’s northwest side in Albany Park, a steel acrobatics ring fell on the dancer during a break and he died as a result of blunt force trauma.
The dance studio called this an accident and a “freak occurrence,” however, the victim’s family and friends are now asking how and why the steel ring fell and why it was not securely in storage. In tort law, there is a term for personal injuries that result from confusing or alarming instances, called “res ipsa loquitur,” as read in The Northwestern Reporter. This is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.” In personal injuries, negligence is proven where but for a wrongdoer’s actions or inactions, injury would not have resulted, and it is due to the negligence of an individual, that injury occurred. Similarly, with res ipsa loquitur, the court makes an inference of a duty of care and a breach from the very nature of the incident, without explicit evidence of how the defendant behaved or did not behave. For further explanation, consider the Saturday morning cartoons we often watched when we were younger in which pianos fell from high-rise buildings; we all know that a piano cannot simply “just fall” from the sky, but someone had to act incorrectly or fail to act by not making the piano secure and safe. This accident speaks for itself that someone had to be negligent, because such an incident does not just happen all on its own. In these instances, nothing further is needed to show that negligence was involved in the accident.
Here, it will be interesting to see if the loved ones of the victim bring a lawsuit asserting such a claim. Surely, the family must be wondering how the steel ring fell from the ceiling. This is also probably especially difficult for them because perhaps if there were proper safety measures in the studio, the steel ring would not have fallen and killed this young dancer.
Our lawyers understand that when lives are cut short due to negligence, surviving family members seek answers surrounding their loved ones tragic deaths. If you lost a loved one in a workplace accident that you believe could have been preventable, you may have a legal action for negligence against the employer or owner of the premises for not maintaining safety within the building. Our Chicago lawyers have helped families seek answers for over twenty years and may be able to help you determine if you have a legal claim for negligence or wrongful death. Contact our firm for a free consultation, and we may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your loss.