Man Killed After Falling Into a Cistern

By Peter DePaolis

A Warrenton, Virginia, man died after falling over a wall surrounding a cistern at the town’s visitor center. The wall, measuring 16 inches tall, was the subject of four final inspections that failed. Despite repeated warnings about safety issues the missing guardrail presented, town officials opened the unapproved site.

The man, who was exiting a meeting, broke his neck in the fall and died three days later. Guardrails help small kids, elderly people and individuals concerned about their overall safety in public walkways. The construction of a guardrail around any public hazard is vital to everyone’s safety.

At 16 inches tall, a wall cannot prevent young children from climbing over it. During the winter, pedestrians are vulnerable to slips and falls. Dangers, like the cistern, also may not be noticeable at first sight to individuals who suffer from poor vision. Guardrails are designed to prevent catastrophic injuries when persons slip, loose their footing, or are unaware of the danger in front of them. Guardrails are a critical safety measure that, when properly designed, can prevent serious injuries from occurring.

Serious spinal cord injuries can occur any time someone falls due to the lack of a guardrail. If you are involved with an incident like this, please contact a Virginia personal injury lawyer at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.