NORTH COUNTY TIMES Reporter Morgan Cook reported that 56-year-old, Manuel Moreno of Valley Center, died on July 27, 2010 while working at his job at Evergreen Nursery in Oceanside. According to Oceanside police officer Ernie Thibodeaux a co-worker found Moreno trapped in a conveyor belt of a soil-filtering machine. The accident happened between 8:15 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. when he allegedly slipped while jumping from the machine to a tractor he had been using. Apparently his arm got caught between the conveyer belt and a wheel of the machine, causing him to be pulled forward and trapping him against the machine until he stopped breathing. He was dead when officers arrived at the scene shortly after the incident was reported. He is survived by his daughter, son, and other family members.
Our condolences go out to the Moreno family and friends.
Applicable California Law
It is not clear exactly how Moreno’s arm got caught in the machine. However, if the machine did not have safety devices such as guard rails, or an emergency shut off mechanism, there could be a potential products liability claim. Products Liability claims are based on various legal theories including negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness. They can arise out of design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects such as inadequate/failure to warn off dangers. All parties in the chain of distribution from the manufacturer to distributers, to name a few, can be held liable. In this particular instance, a thorough investigation of the accident, including a scene investigation by an accident reconstruction/ human factors expert and mechanical engineer who is familiar with these types of machines, would be required to evaluate the merits of any claims. I would refer you to my prior Blog posts relating to the law on survivor action, wrongful death claims and how workers compensation law would apply.
Tragedy can strike at any time resulting in serious injury or wrongful death. Work related accidents arising out of auto accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, or other job related injuries can be devastating. Having your case promptly reviewed by an experienced personal injury attorney is critical.