It is one of the most dangerous professions. Each day, Hawaii’s firefighters put their lives on the line to help save others. But the recent death of a Honolulu firefighter and the serious injury of another has many questioning the city’s safety guidelines. Caught in the middle of the firestorm is Chief Manuel Neves, who is being asked by the firefighter’s union to step down. Pending an investigation, both incidents could result in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.
The controversy began following the June death of Honolulu firefighter Clifford Rigsbee, who died in a water training accident that involved his watercraft and sled in Diamond Head. On September 2, another Honolulu firefighter suffered serious injuries when he fell 30 feet from a helicopter rescue basket while rescuing a hiker in Diamond Head. The firefighter has yet to return to work. Both incidents are currently under investigation.
According to Hawaii Firefighters Association President Bobby Lee, both incidents could have been prevented with better safety measures. Although both cases are under investigation, Chief Neves has already ordered changes in water training exercises. Instead of one person sitting in the sled, another firefighter will be standing or sitting next to the personal watercraft operator. The fire department will now require two watercraft during ocean drills. Unfortunately, these changes are too late for both firefighters involved in their accidents. It’s not the first time Neves and the union have butted heads. Two years ago, the Hawaii Firefighters Association unanimously voted “no confidence” against Neves. The organization accused Neves of trying to bust the union.
Firefighters, police officers and rescue workers must often take risks to do their jobs. Many of these risks can be life-threatening. However, it is also the department’s responsibility to provide the best quality of equipment, training and safety procedures. Failure by the fire department to comply with these requirements can be considered as negligence. When a firefighter suffers serious injuries due to negligence, it also significantly affects their family. Income is lost. Hospital bills rise. When the accident victim is responsible for providing for the family, it is vital to seek help from a Hawaii personal injury lawyer.
Most accident victims are in no condition to fill out forms, pay bills or even properly know their rights. A personal injury attorney can help recover the compensation needed to pay for these expenses and to provide enough money for the victims and their families to maintain a good quality of life. Their job is to always look out for the client’s best interest. When it comes to Hawaii personal injury attorneys, few can match the level of experience and legal resources of Jed Kurzban.
For more than 25 years, Kurzban has been protecting the rights of accident victims. He utilizes an aggressive and compassionate approach to help each client recover the maximum amount of compensation they deserve. In many cases, accident victims make the mistake of simply accepting the settlement made by their insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always provide the right amount of compensation. Do not take chances when choosing a Hawaii personal injury attorney. Contact the lawyer committed to looking out for the best interests of each client. Call Jed Kurzban at Kurzban Kurzban, Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt P.A. and schedule a consultation today.