Robert Herweyer was helping to pump out a 12-foot-tall vat at Agri-Science Technologies in Saugatuck, Michigan when the molasses level became too low to reach the pump-out valve. Herweyer put on a pair of wading boots and a safety mask so he could descend into the tank via a forklift and straps to adjust the valve. According to a co-worker, Herweyer grabbed the straps to start the climb back out of the tank, but suddenly stopped. After calling to Herweyer and receiving no response, co-workers sought help. It is believed Herweyer had been submerged in the molasses for at least four minutes before his boss was able to cut through the tank and pull him out. Although the sheriff’s department hasn’t yet issued an official cause of death, a doctor said Herweyer’s had syrup in his lungs and died from drowning. The man leaves behind a wife and soon-to-be first child.
It is unclear what happened, but authorities believe fumes or a medical episode may have played a part in his death. Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating to make sure there were no workplace violations, but it may take months to reach a conclusion.
If it is determined that the cause was due in part, or whole, to negligence or defective parts or equipment, it will be imperative to put the proper measures in place so such a tragedy does not happen again.
Incidents such as this are dealt with under the auspices of workers’ compensation law. That’s the general rule of thumb, but there are exceptions. One of those is if the accident was due to a defective piece of equipment or negligence on the part of someone other than the employer. If that is the case in this fatal accident, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If immediate cash flow is issue that makes it difficult to pay the bills while waiting for a fair settlement, she may want to consider lawsuit funding.
It is very easy to apply for lawsuit funding, either by phone or online. After receiving a funding application, we will review the case and make a funding decision within 24 – 48 hours. If approved, the lawsuit cash advance can be used for whatever the funded client chooses, but typically is used to pay medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, household bills, mortgage, or simply to put food on the table. Unlike a bank loan, there are no monthly payments or credit checks, and employment is not important. And, if the case is lost, the lawsuit cash advance is excused. To apply or for a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Lawsuit Financial at 1-877-377-7848.