Construction workers are frequently required to move loads that are far heavier than human lifting and carrying ability. For short moves, workers commonly use “tow motors,” a small truck powered by a battery or propane engine. These vehicles often resemble fork lift trucks without the lifting apparatus. A tow motor appears to lie at the center of a sequence of unexplained events that have resulted in a fatal accident on a construction site in Ansonia, Connecticut.

Police were called to the job site at about 8:45 a.m. on August 21, 2017. They found a man with a severe head wound lying next to an overturned tow motor. The man died at about the time that he was found, but initial reports are not clear about the exact time or manner of death. The head wound was initially blamed for the death, but other reports of the incident state that the man was suffering cardiac arrest when he was found.

Many questions must be answered to determine how the accident was caused, and who may be responsible. The decedent was working for a subcontractor hired by Lowe’s Home Improvement to deliver lumber to the construction site. The owner of the tow motor has not been identified. Also, the manner in which the decedent suffered the head wound has not yet been understood. A likely, but as of yet unverified, explanation is that the tow motor tipped over, throwing the worker, who hit his head on a rock or similar object when he landed. The accident is being investigated by both the Ansonia Police Department and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The family of the decedent is entitled to survivor’s benefits under Connecticut’s workers’ compensation law, but the identity of his employer has not been verified. Moreover, if the tow motor was defective and if the defect contributed to the accident, the owner of the tow motor may bear a share of the liability. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with several possible causes may wish to consult an experienced workplace injury attorney for an evaluation of the case.

Source: Connecticut Post, “Man dies in Ansonia motor-vehicle accident,” Tara O’Neill and Jim Shay, Aug. 21, 2017