$9 Million Boston Wrongful Death Settlement Reached with Family of State Trooper Killed in Big Dig Tunnel

The family of Vincent Cilia has settled their Boston wrongful death lawsuit against the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and a number of contractors for $9 million. Cilia, a Massachusetts state trooper, suffered fatal injuries July 2005 when he was thrown off his motorcycle and struck the handrails in a Big Dig tunnel.

In their Suffolk County wrongful death complaint, Cilia’s family alleged that the handrails on the walkways in the tunnels are poorly designed. They compared the rails to the blades from a shredder in terms of the danger they can pose to motorists. Six other deaths have been linked to the rails. Most of the victims were dismembered after striking the them. One person survived but lost an arm.

The handrails are a little over 3 feet off the ground and approximately the height of a car window or motorcycle seat. The railings are supposed to support workers on walkways so that they don’t fall into traffic. While state officials have insisted that the handrails’ design is safe and complies with safety standards, The Boston Globe is reporting that newly obtained documents show that in 1992, the US Department of Transportation warned the Big Dig project director that there rails might pose a hazard. The director, however, replied that the rails were safe.

Experts, too, have questioned the safety of the handrails’ bars and raised questions about whether the rails posed a vehicle entanglement hazard because they were spread too wide apart from each other. Some of them thought that the railings could be less dangerous if their location was higher up.

If you lost someone you love because of a hazard on the road that should have been remedied or removed, you may have grounds for a Boston wrongful death case. Roads, highways, intersections, tunnels, bridges, crossing lanes, and sidewalks are supposed to be constructed in a manner that is safe and hazard-free.

Big Dig lawsuit settled for $9m, Boston.com, November 23, 2010
Big Dig trooper death lawsuit settled for $9M, Boston Herald.com, November 23, 2010
Boston Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims Big Dig Tunnel’s Handrails are a Danger, Boston Injury Lawyer, February 22, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog

Treacherous Railings in Big Dig tunnels

The Big Dig, MassDOT

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