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Toddler Dies after Falling into Restaurant’s Grease Trap

A three-year-old boy lost his life on Monday after falling into a restaurant’s grease trap in the area of Rochester, New York. Throughout the entire country, restaurants are required to have grease traps. This unfortunate event has reminded all of us of the dangers of these grease traps when they are not secured properly. From New York to California, we feel the significance and the devastation due to this innocent boy’s death. According to reports of the incident, the boy fell through the lid of the grease trap. The lid was plastic and appears to have given way into the trap as the child ran across it. The lid to the grease trap was green, allowing it to blend with the grass that surrounded it. Toddler Dies after Falling into Restaurant's Grease Trap The mother of the toddler, an employee at the location, brought him to work. At some point, the toddler wandered away from her. She promptly called the cops, sometime before 11 a.m. to report her son missing. Just minutes after the missing-child report was made, a witness located the boy in the grease trap, pulled him out, and started CPR. The three-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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As a direct result of this unfortunate incident, the city is addressing the grease trap – pouring concrete around its opening and placing a metal (more secure) lid on it.

What is a Grease Trap?

A grease trap is a device with the purpose of preventing blockages in the sewer system. Without grease traps, grease and oil would quickly accumulate – creating blockages and allowing grease/oil to enter the sewage system. In general, all states have certain requirements regarding grease traps. Specifically, restaurants that serve any sort of greasy food are required by law to have grease traps.

Past Incidents Involving Grease Traps

Unfortunately, the incident discussed above is not the only of its kind. Grease traps have been associated with the death of a child at least once in the past. Specifically, in October of 2016, a three-year-old girl died after falling into a grease pit outside an ice cream shop. The child stepped onto the unsecured lid of the grease trap and fell. She disappeared into the pit in a matter of seconds. The father of the child claims that he turned his head away from the child just for a second; she was gone when he turned back. The child’s family contacted police immediately to report her as missing. Before the police even arrive on the scene, the family had found the girl in the grease pit. She had only been missing for between 5 to 10 minutes. She was unresponsive and was administered CPR; regardless of the attempts to save for life, she died just a short time later in the hospital. The death was considered an accidental drowning. Toddler Dies after Falling into Restaurant's Grease Trap

Establishing Liability for this Incident and Similar Incidents

When horrible incidents like these happen, parents, other family, and the public are left with many unanswered questions. First and foremost, why did this happen? Why was the grease trap not secured properly? Why was the weight of a small child enough to fall through the lid of the grease trap? How could something like this happen? Other equally as important questions revolve around liability for the incident. Who is at fault for the incident? Who is to blame? Who could have done something differently to prevent the death of the child?

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Many people are quick to blame parents for the harm their children suffer. After all, if parents are paying attention to their children, they wouldn’t get themselves into dangerous situations. Without a doubt, parents have the duty to care for their children and ensure that they are safe. However, property owners, such as the owners of the restaurant where this unfortunate event happened, have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for everyone. Within this duty of care, property (or restaurant) owners and managers are responsible for constantly inspecting their premises to ensure that it remains in a safe condition. This is called premise liability. When they identify or become aware of a hazard on their premises, they must quickly take action to address the hazard – either by eliminating the hazard or placing a clear warning of the hazard. Toddler Dies after Falling into Restaurant's Grease Trap The grease trap in the restaurant was covered – as it should have been. However, it was not covered securely. The grease trap was only covered with a plastic lid, which proved to be ineffective under the weight of a toddler. If an adult would have stepped on the lid, the adult might have also fallen into the grease trap. Because the restaurant failed to cover the grease trap effectively, the toddler fell in. Therefore, they breached their duty of care towards others and contributed to the death of the toddler. Another way to think of it is how the incident could have been prevented. If the restaurant would have effectively exercised their duty of care, identified that the plastic lid over the grease trap was hazardous, and taken action to ensure that the grease trap was properly secured (with a metal lid, for example), the child would not have fallen in. Subsequently, the child would have not died. Based on these details, the restaurant could face liability for the death of the child.

Understanding the Right to Sue

Do you have the right to sue for the death of your child? Whether your child died after falling into a grease trap or suffered any sort of harm due to hazards on a premise, you might have grounds to pursue a claim. Your right to sue will always be based on negligence and liability. That is, a party or entity owed a duty of care; a party or entity breached the duty of care; the breach of duty caused an incident; the incident resulted in the death (or other harm) of the victim. After losing a member of your family, especially an innocent child, pursuing a claim and holding the liable party accountable for their actions will likely be the last thing on your mind. Even if it’s not the first thing on your mind or even something that you would want to think about at all, you have to always be aware that you have the right to sue – and that pursuing a claim is an option available to you after such a traumatic event. If you would like to learn more about your right to sue, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the experts at your earliest convenience. Our lawyers are ready to evaluate your current situation and help you understand your right to take action against the party liable for the harm your child suffered. Do not hesitate to seek legal assistance.

Your Right to Recover Monetary Compensation

If you pursue a claim that reaches a successful outcome, will you likely be eligible to receive compensation? The right to receive compensation depends on the specific details of the claim. In general, however, claimants could recover compensation. Compensation available for recover can usually include at least some of the following:
  • Medical expenses – compensation for all medical expenses incurred as a direct result of the incident
  • Lost wages – compensation for any income/earning capabilities that were lost as a direct result of the incident
  • Pain and suffering – compensation awarded for all the anguish caused by the incident, including mental and emotional distress
  • Funeral and burial costs – compensation awarded for all the services related to the death of a victim
  • Loss of consortium – compensation awarded for the lost ability to have a normal, family relationship with the victim
  • Punitive damages – compensation awarded as a form of punishment toward the defendant, in attempts to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring
Is there a specific amount of compensation that you are guaranteed that you could receive? The type and amount of compensation that you could recover depends on the specific details of your claim. Because of that, it is important that you discuss the specific details of a claim with a knowledgeable attorney. If you would like to learn more about your specific right to recover compensation and the potential value of your claim, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts immediately. The experts at Downtown L.A. Law Group are ready to fight for your right to recover the compensation to which you are entitled.

Contact Downtown L.A. Law Group Today

If your child lost his or her life in any sort of incident similar to the one discussed above, you might be interested in exploring the possibility of pursuing a claim against the party or entity liable for the death of your child. If you would like to learn more about your right to pursue a claim, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible. The experts at our law firm are ready to provide you with all the information that you need to take legal action. The lawyers at Downtown L.A. Law Group have many years of experience handling a variety of claims and helping victims and their families to fight to recover the compensation that they deserve. If you would like our lawyers to handle your claim and provide you with the representation necessary to reach a successful claim outcome, do not hesitate to contact our law firm as soon as possible. When you contact our law firm and allow our lawyers to handle your claim, you can be certain that our lawyers will provide you with all the information that you need to start or continue your claim. Specifically, our law firm offers free legal services, such as free consultations and free second opinions. During these free legal services, our lawyers will be available to give you the answers that you need and address any of your concerns. At Downtown, L.A. Law Group, we believe that all affected parties should be able to speak with a lawyer without fear of expensive legal fees. Our free legal services are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee – our clients will never be required to pay any upfront legal expenses. Our law firm is also strictly based on contingency; therefore, our clients will never pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. Even when the claim is successful, all fees will be deducted from the recovery – meaning that clients will never be required to pay anything out of pocket. If you are ready to discuss your claim with the experts at our law firm, contact Downtown L.A. Law Group immediately.

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