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Three-Year-Old Girl Killed by Store Security Gate

Our Boston personal injury lawyers know storeowners who do not properly inspect and maintain their premises may subject themselves to a negligence lawsuit.

269548_emergency.jpgAccording to recent story from CBS, a security gate at a Philadelphia Italian ice store killed a three-year-old child. Authorities are reporting that an accordion-style metal gate that rolls down to protect the store from burglars came loose from the building structure. The 2000-pound gate, along with the metal frame constructed on steel beams, detached from the building and fell on the child.

This tragic accident occurred during a fundraising event hosted by two college fraternities. Witnesses say that dozens of people tried to lift the gate off the child. At one point there were 12 to 15 people on each side of the gate but it was too heavy for them to quickly lift. Eventually, with the help of 30 people, they were able to lift the gate off the young girl, but she was not moving at that point.

The child was taken to the trauma center at a local hospital, but she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. Accident investigators stayed on the scene to conduct a full investigation into why the gate detached from the building. The storeowner expressed condolences but was not willing to talk during an ongoing investigation.

The state department responsible for conducting building inspections said it only perform an inspection of this type of gate if it has been made aware of a problem or received a complaint. According to their records, they had never received a complaint about this particular gate.

In a case like this, if the girl’s family files a lawsuit, it is likely that the lawsuit would be a negligence action under a theory that store employees knew or should have known the gate was likely to fall. There may also be a products liability action filed against the gate manufacturer, if the plaintiff can establish that the gate was improperly constructed or the company failed to adequately warn of such danger.

With respect to the maintenance issue, your Boston personal injury lawyer would need to know whether the structure was visibly coming loose from the rest of the building. Employees should be required to keep a lookout for any seemingly dangerous conditions. If they noticed, for example, that the gate frame was starting to separate from the concrete or brick facade of the building, they should have reported this to their employer who then should have either closed down the business until a repair could be made or taken other precautions. At the very least, the storeowner would have a duty to get a contractor out as soon as possible to inspect the gate and let the owner know if it is likely to collapse.

If you are injured in an accident in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

3-Year-Old Killed In Security Door Accident At Italian Ice Store, June 28, 2014, CBS Local
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New Guidelines for Identifying Causes of Newborn Brain Injury, April 13, 2014, Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog