Wrongful Death and Fatal Injuries
Losing a loved one because of a work-related injury is devastating. Not only are you grieving your loss, but you may also be facing an uncertain future due to funeral costs and lost paychecks.
At Fields Law, we understand that this can be a difficult time for families who are trying to put the pieces back together after an on-the-job accident. For that reason, if someone you love sustained a fatal injury or died on the job site, call us to determine what potential claims may be available and how we may be able to help during this difficult time.
Helping Your Family Heal
The loss of a loved one is an emotional time for any family. But when his or her death was caused by someone else’s negligence, it can feel even more devastating. At Fields Law, it’s our job to build a strong claim on your behalf, so you can focus on healing.
Losing a loved one doesn’t just put emotional stress on your family, it can also put a strain on your finances. You may be able to receive benefits through a variety of programs, such as:
- Social Security Disability
If you lost a spouse who qualified for Social Security Disability, you may be able to receive some or all of his or her benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation
You loved one’s workers’ compensation benefits can help provide for your family after a fatal construction injury.
- Third-Party Liability Coverage
If someone besides your family member’s employer contributed to his or her death, you may be able to hold them responsible for pain and suffering and other damages not covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
Occupations Linked to Fatal Injuries and Accidents
Some jobs are more dangerous than others, and workers may be at risk of serious injuries or even death if their coworkers, managers, or foremen are negligent. Some of these jobs include:
- Construction Workers
Construction workers are at constant risk of being injured or killed by heavy machinery, falling objects, structural collapses, and unsafe building sites. Construction accidents caused by safety hazards, such as equipment malfunction, negligent workers on the job site, or structural collapses can lead to serious, and even fatal, injuries. If you’ve lost a loved one in a construction accident, Fields Law Firm is here to help you get the benefits you need to support your family.
- Truck Drivers
The transportation industry can be dangerous, as truck drivers are often on the road for days at a time even in bad weather conditions. Winter storms and heavy traffic can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, accidents.
People who work in forestry are cutting, clearing, and hauling trees and often face the risk of being injured by heavy equipment and crushed by falling limbs, branches, and trees. In addition, these workers are also at risk of severe cuts and lacerations from chain saws and other cutting equipment.
If someone you love sustained a fatal injury on the job site, the employer is primarily liable for dependency benefits and burial expenses. However, if the fatal injury was caused by the fault of a third-party, other than the employer, you may also bring a wrongful death claim for your loss.
Death and Dependency Benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act
In general, if you are the spouse or a dependent of the decedent, you may be entitled to receive benefits based on the decedent’s weekly wage on the date of the employee’s injury. These dependency benefits will be apportioned between the surviving dependents and spouse, if any, according to the law. The actual amount received by the spouse and dependents will depend on the number of surviving dependents and the law that applies to your specific case.
Depending on the fatally injured worker’s situation at the time of death, the workers compensation insurer may be required to pay burial expenses, dependency benefits, and unpaid workers’ compensation benefits that have accrued at the time of the worker’s death. Burial expenses, up to $15,000, may be available to cover some of the costs of the decedent’s burial.
If the employee had unpaid workers’ compensation benefits prior to his/her death, a certain portion of those benefits may survive the employee’s death. Which benefits survive the employee’s death is controlled by the governing law in place at the time of the employee’s death.
In some situations, a wrongful death claim can be brought against the person, entity, or manufacturer whose fault caused the death of your loved one. For example, if a road construction worker dies because a driver failed to slow down in the construction zone and caused a fatal accident, a wrongful death action can be brought against the negligent driver.
If a manufacturer of heavy construction equipment defectively manufactured a machine that caused the death of a worker, a product liability claim may be brought against the manufacturer.
If an elevator maintenance subcontractor working on the job site negligently failed to turn off the power to an elevator which crushed a painter working in the elevator shaft, a third-party liability claim may be brought against the negligent subcontractor.
The law that applies in wrongful death cases requires that someone be court appointed to represent the next-of-kin of the decedent in order to commence a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation.
Talk to Us
Dealing with legal issues while you are mourning the loss of your loved one is hard. You can count on Fields Law Firm to be here for you every step of the way and give you the advice and guidance you need to get through this difficult time.