Mistakes occur on the job, just as they do in other aspects of life. Yet, when an unavoidable error in the workplace results in a fatality, that explanation won’t cut it.
A fatal workplace accident leaves family members with emotional and financial obstacles. While no legal action can replace the person they have lost, workers’ compensation and wrongful death laws offer surviving family members opportunities for financial relief.
Common causes of workplace deaths in the United States include:
- Being struck by an object
- Car accidents
- Machine entanglement
- Explosions and fires
Workers’ Compensation Claim vs. Wrongful Death Claim
The workers’ compensation system is designed to award fixed monetary compensation to workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Injured workers or families of deceased workers are not required to prove negligence or wrongdoing to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The death benefits available to surviving family members equal two-thirds of their average weekly wage. For example, a spouse will receive such payments for the rest of his/her life or until they remarry and children can receive benefits until they reach 18 years of age—unless they are still in school. Furthermore, the employer will pay for funeral and burial expenses, as well as any medical bills prior to the death.
However, if a third party is fully or partially at fault for the worker’s death, the surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the party. In addition to covering economic damages (e.g. medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, etc.), noneconomic damages (i.e. emotional distress, pain and suffering, etc.) are also covered in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If your family has been affected by a work-related wrongful death, our Charleston personal injury attorneys at Pierce | Sloan is committed to helping you obtain the financial compensation and the justice you deserve. We can help you understand all of the benefits to which you and your family may be entitled.
For more information, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.