The family of Bronson Ganka won a $5.6 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit against his employer over his fatal fall in 2014. The family claimed that Jeffrey Clark, a manager for Apartments Downtown Inc., was negligent and did not provide a safe work environment.
According to The Gazette, Bronson Ganka fell 12 feet from a ladder while drilling holes into the exterior wall of a building above an awning. He went into a coma following his fall and died 11 days later from brain injuries.
Some crew members did not feel that the ladder was tall enough, but Ganka decided to use it anyways. The company owned a machine that had a basket with safety guardrails to lift workers up. Ganka was told not to use that machine by his supervisor because it required a city permit to block the street.
At the time of the incident, Apartments Downtown Inc. had not assigned an individual to manage job site safety. In fact, The Des Moines Register reported that the prominent Iowa City property management company did not have a safety program in place at the time of Ganka’s death.
The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Apartments Downtown Inc. $5,250 following Ganka’s death. The company was fined because employees were not wearing hard hats, placed ladders on unstable surfaces, and because the company failed to train employees to avoid hazards.
The jury recently sided with the Ganka family and initially awarded $7 million in damages. That verdict was reduced by a judge to $5.6 million because the jurors found Bronson Ganka 20 percent at fault.
Bronson Ganka is survived by his wife, two adult children and his six-year-old child. The family hopes that this verdict makes companies reevaluate what they’re doing to prevent incidents like this.