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Big settlement in death of single mother of 5 in fatal accident

A lawsuit was settled for $6.58 million in the death of a Pennsylvania woman who was burned when a furnace exploded at the Victaulic foundry in 2010. Named in the industrial accident suit were four businesses, but not Victaulic itself. The 37-year-old was at the plant in Lower Macungie Township when molten metal mixed with water inside a furnace and exploded. She was a single mother of five children.

The woman's parents sued in 2011, making the allegation that the furnace, which had been refurbished, was not properly installed. They claimed that an Ohio company failed to make furnace bolts tight enough, forcing employees of Victaulic to attempt a repair days before the fatal incident, the lawsuit said. Also named in the suit were two Pennsylvania companies, two companies from New Jersey and one from Illinois. Four of those businesses agreed to settle the lawsuit, with $6.5 million of the amount coming from the Ohio firm.

An attorney for the woman's parents said that a very large part of their case was based on the fact that she was a single mother bringing up five children, who ranged in age from 8 to 20. The settlement provided for each child to receive monthly payments of $1,000 once they reached age 18 and end when they turned 30. The woman's two adult sons were set to receive modified payments since they were already over 18.

Industrial accidents can happen in Pennsylvania for many reasons. A careless property owner, a poorly prepared job site and defective machinery can all create a dangerous workplace environment. An attorney experienced in fighting for clients who have been hurt in or lost family members to a work accident may be able to help individuals recover compensation for their losses.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live, "Family reaches $6.58 million settlement after Walnutport mother killed in explosion", Tom Shortell, October 22, 2013

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