The surviving family members of a worker who was killed in an Amazon warehouse collapse in downstate Illinois have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
Six Workers Killed
On December 10, 2021, an EF-3 tornado struck an Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville, IL. The tornado, which reached wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, devastated the building, causing significant structural damage and a partial collapse.
A total of six workers were killed in the Amazon warehouse collapse, including 26-year-old Austin McEwen, an independent contractor who made deliveries for the company.
Failure to Exercise Reasonable Care Alleged
On January 18, 2022, personal injury attorneys representing Austin McEwen’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Madison County State Court. In addition to Amazon, the suit names Contegra and Tristor, two development companies responsible for the structure of the fulfillment center, as co-defendants.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants “failed to exercise reasonable care” to protect workers like Austin from sustaining injuries or death. The plaintiffs claim that Amazon opted not to evacuate employees in a timely manner before the tornado struck in order to keep them fulfilling orders.
The family’s attorneys also allege that there was a lack of appropriate storm shelters at the facility and that the employees had never received tornado safety training, which created a “chaotic scene.” McEwan and others reportedly had to seek shelter in a bathroom at the facility prior to the Amazon warehouse collapse.
Additionally, the plaintiffs claim that the columns holding up the warehouse may not have been properly fixed into the ground – just “pegged” in. This alleged structural defect would have allowed the columns to be easily blown up and out of the ground by the tornado, hastening the building’s collapse.
OSHA Investigating Amazon Warehouse Collapse
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began investigating the Amazon warehouse collapse in December. The agency has six months to complete its investigation.
Additionally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Founder Jeff Bezos demanding answers about the tragedy.
Fighting for Structural Collapse Victims
Each year, there are approximately eight structural collapse disasters across the globe, resulting in an average of 343 deaths. Even victims who survive these incidents can sustain serious, sometimes life-changing injuries that may require extensive, ongoing treatment at significant expense.
If you have been hurt in a structural collapse, you might be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties. To help make sure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your losses, consider doing what thousands of other victims of negligence have done before you and reach out to GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. No other plaintiff firm in the state is more respected – or more feared – by defense attorneys and insurance companies, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation you need to get you and your family the justice you deserve.
For a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, contact GWC today. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.