A Haltom City teen died Saturday after falling off a grain silo in Fort Worth.
Monica Hernandez, 17, died at 2:30 p.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner. The cause of her death is pending.
Hernandez was with friends at the silos in the 3800 block of Alice Street when she fell, Fort Worth police said.
The silos are five or six stories tall, Fort Worth police officer Daniel Segura said in an email.
“No suspicion of foul play,’ Segura said. “It is believed to be a tragic accident.”
Emergency personnel were first notified about 5:30 a.m. after a caller reported a woman trapped on top of the silo. Fort Worth police and fire departments arrived on the scene but didn’t find a victim, Fort Worth Fire Lt. Kyle Falkner said.
The family went out to search and found Hernandez in the basement, Segura said.
“That is a very dangerous stucture,” Falkner said. “We’ve had issues with it in the past; it’s definitely a hazardous building.”
I have heard about accidents like this one from time to time and always wondered what the legal implications will be. There are several factors to consider in an accident like this including: trespassing, comparative negligence, assumption of the risk and attractive nuisance. Anytime a death is involved legal action is always a very real consideration.
It is rare for a property owner to be held liable for a trespassor's injuries. However, it can happen. If a property owner knows of a serious property danger or hazard and knows people trespass often and does nothing to warn about the hazard they can be held liable. Or if a property owner is grossly negligent.
For example: if an individual owns property and knows it is frequently used by children walking home from school to cut across as a short cut, the owner may need to take special precautions to warn about any dangers on that property. If that property had a large 15 foot hole that was covered by overgrown grass and the owner knew about that hole and knew about the children walking across his property, he probably has a duty to warn about it so no children will be injured. If he did nothing about the hole and a child was injured he could be held liable for those injuries.
This case will be a difficult one as there are several factors to consider when analyzing liability and negligence. Both the property owner and family of the deceased, should speak with an attorney to fully understand their rights and fully appreciate all issues involved.