Wine has been part of human history since as far back as 4100 B.C. and Americans are drinking more wine than ever before. In 2015 alone, 779 million gallons of wine was consumed by Americans.
Given their product’s popularity, it’s hardly surprising that wineries have begun to create specialized events, tastings, and tours. In fact, many are “family friendly” and allow children and even pets to join in on the fun. While time spent at a winery can be quite enjoyable, serious hazards do exist and if not addressed quickly enough, people get hurt.
Visitors Typically Unaware Of The Danger They Are In
The majority of wineries are designed to provide their visitors with a relaxing environment where varies varieties can be sipped and enjoyed. It’s rare that a guest will think for even a second that their health or life may be in danger, yet they often are.
Nearly everyone understands that if they drink and drive, the risk of being involved in an accident goes up significantly. That’s why many wineries or other groups offer transportation services so that everyone on the trip can enjoy their time and no one was to worry about being the designated driver. While this is a great decision for the visitors, it doesn’t keep them safe from other negligent drivers on the road or even the driver of the vehicle they are in.
Just recently, a tragic accident occurred when a limo that eight women were riding in was broadsided by a pickup truck. The limo driver was attempting to make a U-turn and the driver informed police that he didn’t even see the truck coming. It was also determined that the driver of the truck was intoxicated. The damage to both vehicles was significant and all eight of the women, as well as both drivers, were seriously injured. Four of the women died from their injuries.
Under premises liability law, the owners and managers of a winery must regularly check their property for hazards that could cause injury to a visitor. This can include structural issues with the building.
In one case, nearly 100 people were enjoying a nice day outside on the patio of a winery when the unexpected happened. The concrete floor of the patio suddenly collapsed, sending everyone on the patio 20 feet into the cellar below. One 29-year-old man died and around 80 people were injured, many of whom sustained permanent damage that changed the way they lived their daily lives.
It’s not just structural issues that can make the premises unsafe. Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common and can be caused by a loose floorboard, unsecured carpeting, spilled wine, or uneven sidewalks.
Carbon Dioxide Exposure
During the fermentation process, carbon dioxide is produced. Wineries are required to follow safety standards so that workers and visitors aren’t exposed to this gas which in high amounts can cause headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, asphyxia, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death.
Don’t Hesitate To Contact An Attorney
Many accident victims struggle with the decision to contact a winery accident attorney because they aren’t sure that they actually need to file a lawsuit or that an attorney can really help them. But the reality is that the law regarding personal injury accidents is intricate and it’s rare that compensation is given to someone working without an attorney. Not only does our team help with all of the necessary paperwork, but we also:
- investigate the accident and determine if more than one party was at fault
- collect evidence
- speak with insurance companies on our client’s behalf
- prepare our client for trial
- identify any other legal avenues through which our client can obtain compensation
It’s important to contact us as soon as possible because not only does evidence disappear over time but there is a strict statute of limitations in every case. This means that once a certain period of time passed, the victim will no longer be able to file a lawsuit.
Can I File If I Was Hurt While Working At A Winery?
It may be possible to pursue legal action if you were hurt while working at a winery, however, this doesn’t mean that you can sue your employer.
Workers who are hurt on the job should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance which all employers are required to have. A workers’ compensation claim will provide a hurt employee with full coverage of their medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, however, by filing a claim the employee is prevented from pursuing a lawsuit against their employer.
But the key point in this is that it’s not always the employer who was at fault. If another third-party was responsible for the accident, the injured employee has the right to file both a workers’ comp claim and personal injury lawsuit.
What Can I Do If My Loved One Died?
If the victim of the accident succumbed to their injuries, their family typically has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible. Much like a personal injury lawsuit, this can provide the plaintiffs with compensation for the deceased’s income, the pain and suffering they experienced before passing, loss of consortium, loss of inheritance, and funeral and burial expenses. In most cases, the eligible family members are the children, spouse, and parents of the deceased.