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The family of a man who was killed in a crash involving an uninsured forklift driver has filed a $25 million negligence lawsuit that claims that even the most basic of background checks could have spared his life.
James Zakos, 70, died Nov. 17 when the forklift driven by Ulises Mondragon, 30, pulled too far into a Fort Lauderdale Beach intersection, ripping into the Mercedes-Benz convertible Zakos was driving.
The lawsuit filed by attorney Blake Dolman, names the contractor and three subcontractors involved in an improvement project, along with Mondragon.
“This was not just an accident, this was grossly and egregiously negligent,” Dolman told the South Florida SunSentinel.
The forklift driver told police he did not have a driver’s license, nor a permit to operate heavy machinery.
Court records show Mondragon had been fined three times since 2011 for driving without a license in Palm Beach County.
Mondragon is from El Salvador and doesn’t have documentation to be in the United States, the newspaper reported. Authorities have placed an immigration hold on him while he’s jailed on charges that include failure to get a driver’s license and a felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
Court records don’t list a lawyer for Mondragon.