Article by: www.times-georigan.com
On: July 20th, 2017
The pain is still fresh even though it was three years ago when Antoine Hendrix, a 37-year-old military veteran, died.
Hendrix, who was wheelchair-bound due to being injured while in the military, had three children from an ended marriage and lived alone on the first floor of the Hickory Falls Apartments in Villa Rica.
On Jan. 31, 2014, Hendrix strangled to death when the apartment deck’s bottom railing broke loose, leaving his neck pinned to the top railing.
Hendrix’s motorized wheelchair had bumped the bottom railing, which caused it to break and swing out. His wheelchair then continued forward, which caused the front two wheels of the wheelchair to catch the edge of the patio, not allowing him to back up.
A neighbor saw Hendrix pinned and called 911, but when the rescuers arrived, they were unable to revive him.
Since then, his family has taken up his fight.
Long before his passing, Hendrix had complained about the railings at his apartment complex. Thomas Reynolds of Reynolds Law Group, who is the Hendrix’s family’s attorney, said that Hendrix had complained before, when his wheelchair knocked a railing loose, though it then did not result in injuries.
The apartment complex had sent a workman to repair the railing, but the workman said he fixed the problem by “popping the railing back into place,” which did not include replacing any parts, Reynolds said.
On behalf of Hendrix’s mother, estate executor and children and their guardians, Reynolds last year filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court. The defendants were Hickory Falls Apartments and the company that had bought the complex after the accident: Carter-Haston Real Estate Services and a related holding company.
Carroll County and several construction companies were included as a co-defendants, but were dismissed from the suit.
Westfield Insurance, Hickory Fall’s primary carrier, paid a $1 million policy limit in May.
“We were able to have a mass resolve with the primary insurance carrier,” said Reynolds. “But often times, if we believe that is an inadequate remedy, we can pursue other carriers for excess coverage.”
Parties are continuing to litigate, as the family and estate seek $25 million from the apartment complex owner’s excess coverage policy. Reynolds said that they have a case set for November to push forward with the lawsuit.
“His family is still hurting,” said Reynolds. “Whenever you have a loss like this, it is going to take a toll on the family and it will never go away. If you talk to anyone who has lost a loved one, that pain is forever. It is sad because having to go through court, this family has to relive that moment of losing their loved one over and over, till it’s resolved.
“My grandfather served our country as part of the first African-American Marine squad that was integrated. My brother and my aunt served, even my great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, so I have much respect for those you fight to protect our country.”