BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 6, 2016–A near tragic accident occurred on January 29, shortly after 6:00 p.m., in Lake Independence when an iron gate at the entrance of the Samuel Haynes Institute fell on top of 3-year-old Brenae Timmons, who had to remain in an induced coma for two weeks, and was hospitalized for 36 days—an ordeal that has damaged her brain.
Brenae Timmons and her parents have retained attorney Hon. Kareem Musa, who filed a claim in the Supreme Court seeking general damages and special damages resulting from the accident.
Brenae Timmons is named as the first claimant in the lawsuit, and, on her behalf, general damages are being sought for the severe head and brain injuries she sustained as a result of the accident.
Her mother, Keisha Reneau and Bernard Timmons, her father, are named as the second claimants, in the lawsuit and they are seeking special damages.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, September 28, has named the Ministry of Human Development as the first defendant; the Samuel Haynes Institute as the second defendant; Brian Espat as the third defendant, and the Attorney General of Belize as the fourth defendant.
The sliding iron gate which partially fell on the child, was installed by Brian Espat, a Belmopan-based contractor, who was contracted by the Ministry of Human Development to construct the gate on the compound of the Samuel Haynes Institute.
Keisha Reneau was employed with the Belize Red Cross for 10 years, but lost her job because she had to take care of her injured daughter.
On January 29, Brenae Timmons was standing inside the yard of the Samuel Haynes Institute, approximately four feet away from the sliding iron gate, but somehow, the wheels of the gate became dislodged and the gate came crashing down on the three-year-old girl.
The lawsuit is claiming that the gate fell as a result of the negligence of the defendants, and that it was poorly constructed and installed.
Contractor Espat had failed to act with reasonable skill and care when he constructed and installed the iron gate, stated the papers filed in the Supreme Court.
“After its installation, the iron sliding gate was shaky, unstable and insecure,” the papers said about the particulars of the negligence.
It added, “The iron gate was constructed and installed without a backstop, which would have prevented the gate from rolling off its track.”
“The wheels attached to the iron sliding gate were too small for the size and weight of the iron gate,” the papers additionally stated.
It was also mentioned in the document that, “The iron gate did not have retainers to keep the gate secured and in an upright position to prevent it from falling off its track.”
The lawsuit also detailed Brenae Timmons’ personal injuries: “She suffered severe head injury and was admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition in a state of post-traumatic coma. She was assessed and diagnosed with right tempero-parietal and basal skull fracture, subdural hematoma, cerebral and cerebellar edema as well as intracranial bleeding.”
Medical reports from Dr. Swan, dated March 5, 2016, and Dr. Dupuy, dated April 27, 2016, are also part of the evidence that the claimants are relying on to prove their case.
Brenae Timmons’ injuries are listed as being severe head and brain injury. She has had to undergo several operations to her brain and had eye surgery to rectify the strabismus caused by the brain damage.
She also suffers from chronic severe headaches, said the court papers.
“As a result of the damage to her brain, Brenae Timmons’ motor developmental skills have been slow in coming, along with restricted and limited use of her left arm. She also suffers from physical imbalance,” said the papers.
The court papers also said that she had to undergo physical and speech therapy at the Inspiration Center and that she suffers from psychiatric damage from the incident and is now very sensitive and emotional. Her concentration and memory have also been affected by the accident.
Due to the nature of the injuries and damages suffered by Brenae Timmons, her mother, having lost her $225-per-week job because she had to care for her, has had to remain unemployed.
If the four defendants named in the lawsuit do not respond and file a defense, judgment may be entered on behalf of the claimants.