Ultimately it’s up to the courts to decide if a death was a wrongful death, or a death by natural causes or an accident. In most cases there’s little dispute, but in some cases the final determination can be difficult to reach.
Those decisions are difficult to think about immediately, especially in the case where a death is sudden, unexpected, or happens in an unusual manner. That’s certainly the situation with a case here in Pennsylvania after the death this month of a golf course worker near Pittsburgh.
According to media reports, a 66-year-old employee of a golf course was pulling a mower with seven “gangs,” or rotating mower reels, over a portion of the course near the 14th hole. The driver of the tractor somehow came off the vehicle and ended up in the rotating reels, where he became trapped. He was pronounced dead that same afternoon.
Authorities are investigating what happened to cause the fatal accident, and the coroner will conduct an autopsy and eventually release a report with the cause and the manner of death. That report could address any problems with the equipment used or the conditions on the course that afternoon.
From there it will be up to the family of the deceased man to determine if they want to look into the possibility that this was indeed a wrongful death. The laws are complicated and insurance companies do not always make it easy on family members to ensure that all legal remedies for a wrongful death are explored. Taken together, those factors indicate that experienced and competent representation is a good idea.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Tractor driver killed in Westmoreland golf-course mowing incident,” Lexi Belculfine, June 11, 2013