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UPDATE: David Tzaput Tzep Killed In Encino Trench Collapse Accident While Working On Sewer Line At House On Louise Ave


Jul 7, 2019

David Tzep Encino:  Construction Worker David Tzaput Tzep From Montebello Killed In Encino Trench Collapse Accident While Working On Sewer Line At House On Louise Ave

ENCINO, CALIFORNIA (July 7, 2019) – A 23-year-old construction worker from Montebello identified as David Tzaput Tzep has tragically died in a trench collapse accident at a home in Encino. 

Encino police are saying that the victim was working on a sewer line underneath the home on Louise Avenue. At around 6:25 p.m. there was a catastrophic trench collapse while David Tzaput Tzep was still inside the trench. 

The trench was around 20 feet deep which made a rescue effort exceptionally difficult. Unfortunately, by the time rescuers were able to clear the trench David Tzaput Tzep had died due to his injuries. 

There is an ongoing investigation into what may have caused the trench collapse. 

Causes of Trench Collapses

According to AFSCME, “Each year, as many as 400 workers are killed and another 4,000 are injured during trenching and shoring operations.” There are a number of factors that could contribute to a trench collapse. 

  • Vibrations from construction equipment could make the soil around a trench come apart. 
  • The weight of construction equipment near the edge can put undue strain on the trench walls. 
  • Water weakens the strength of trench walls. This is why a competent person must inspect a trench after every rainstorm. 
  • Soil that is too dry is also prone to crumbling more easily. 

Trench collapses are far from a random occurrence. They are typically the result of safety violations. Depending on the facts of any case, there may be multiple sources of liability for a trench collapse that kills or injures a worker. 

Liability In Trench Collapse Accidents

Construction jobs are among the most dangerous and contribute to a disproportionate amount of worker injuries and deaths. There are four types of accidents in particular that make up nearly 60% of all workplace accidents:

  • Falls – 381 out of 971 total deaths in construction in CY 2017 (39.2%)
  • Struck by Object – 80 (8.2%)
  • Electrocutions – 71 (7.3%)
  • Caught-in/between* – 50 (5.1%)

This is why construction companies must be doing everything in their power to help keep workers safe. Unfortunately, it is extremely common for California businesses to engage in numerous safety violations. In 2016, “Cal/OSHA inspected 813 businesses, finding 93% of them out of compliance, issuing 2,736 citations, 15% of them serious, all totaling $2.5 million in fines — nearly double the amount for the same number of citations from two years earlier.”

When a worker is injured or killed on the job they are obliged to provide the victim or their family with benefits. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations Workers Compensation Guidebook, “If you get hurt on the job, your employer is required by law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits.” What many families don’t realize is that the worker’s compensation system may not be their only resource after an accident. There may also be recourse through a third party liability claim

If an entity separate from a worker’s employer contributed to an accident they could be held responsible through a civil claim. For example, if a general contractor failed to properly inspect a trench prior to a collapse they could be liable. The family of any victim that died may have legal recourse through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages can include compensation for lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses and emotional trauma. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know if there is third party negligence.

Investigating A Trench Collapse 

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of David Tzaput Tzep. It is our sincere hope that there is a thorough investigation into what happened. Safety measures need to be put in place to make sure that this does not take place again. Any person that may have knowledge about what went wrong should reach out to OSHA as they continue their investigation. 

If you or someone that you care about has been involved in a trench collapse you may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you need a free, independent investigation into a particular incident or just have legal questions we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

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