FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a Canadian man who was impaled by a forklift in Fort Lauderdale has filed suit against the construction company the unlicensed operator worked for.

James Zakos, 70, was visiting the city from Canada when he was killed while driving along A1A near the beach on Nov. 18.

In the suit, the family alleges that a background check could have prevented Zakos’ death.

“There’s no question that this is a criminal act rather than just an accident,” Blake Dolman, the family’s attorney, said. “Mr. Zakos, unfortunately, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, driving his vehicle under the speed limit, when he collided with those forks, which were sticking out into the intersection.”

Ulises Mondragon, the driver of the forklift, should have never been operating that sort of equipment, according to the victim’s family and attorneys.

“It’s devastating,” Margaret Zakos, the victim’s sister, said over the phone. “The fact that it could have been prevented on multiple levels makes it even worse.”

Attorneys claim Mondragon was in the U.S. illegally, had several infractions on his driving record, did not have a valid driver’s license and was not certified to be operating heavy machinery.

“Yet, here he is on the roadway, operating a forklift with no license, no endorsement in what would be arguably one of the busiest intersections in Fort Lauderdale,” family attorney Carson Hancock said.

Mondragon was contracted as part of a multimillion dollar revitalization project along Fort Lauderdale Beach, but the family said a background check may have prevented him from getting the job.

“If the contractor had done a simple background check, they would have found that this guy has done it before, he shouldn’t be doing it now, and unfortunately, he kept doing it, and this is what’s happened,” Hancock said.

Meanwhile, Mondragon faces a slew of criminal charges, and the Zakos family wants to make sure this incident never happens again.

“It’s disastrous that it happened to my brother, but it should never happen to another person,” Zakos said.

The family is also seeking upwards of $25 million in punitive damages. They said it is meant to send a message to other construction companies and future projects that safety should be paramount.

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