Workplace Accident Death Claims
Construction and manufacturing jobs are some of the most dangerous in the country. But those in the healthcare industry or teachers are certainly not immune from injury and death. Any workplace can be the site of a fatal accident. The surviving family members of individuals killed on the job face a difficult road moving forward. You can file workplace accident death claims with the help of Joel Bieber law firm personal injury lawyer.
The rights of surviving family members following a loved one’s death at work are complicated. All states operate a workers’ comp program that can provide some benefits to surviving family members, but these may not represent all the benefits family members are entitled to.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
Workers’ comp programs exist to quickly compensate injured workers after a workplace accident. In addition, these programs provide a death benefit to family members of a worker who died while on the job. In almost every case, these benefits are available no matter who was responsible for causing the accident.
Eligibility to Receive Death Benefits
Each state sets its own rules as to who can receive death benefits following an employee’s death on the job. The decedent’s spouse is invariably the first beneficiary of these death benefits. If the deceased has no spouse, then most workers’ comp programs will give benefits to the worker’s children or estate.
What Do Workers’ Comp Death Benefits Include?
Each state is free to craft its own workers’ comp program. Accordingly, each state defines what death benefits eligible survivors receive. Nonetheless, almost every state will give eligible survivors damages to cover some of the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses.
If the decedent incurred medical expenses before dying, survivors would receive benefits to pay for these bills as well.
Lastly, every state will pay eligible survivors benefits representing a portion of the decedent’s wage. How the states calculate this amount differs from one state to the next, though. Some states will cap the total amount of wage reimbursement a survivor can receive. Other states will pay this benefit only for a certain period of time.
Accessing Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
Eligible surviving family members begin the process of obtaining monetary damages by filing workplace accident death claims. How these claims are filed can differ from state to state. Because of this, it is best to consult with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in your state.
Survivors seeking benefits must file their workplace accident death claims quickly following the decedent’s death. You can file a claim if some time passed between the injury event and your loved one’s death. But remember, this is not an absolute right. States’ programs will not pay benefits when a worker dies many years after a workplace accident or illness.
Additionally, insurers can deny workplace accident death claims if the worker’s death is not connected to the injury or illness they sustained on the job.
Limitations on Financial Damages from Workplace Accident Death Claims
There is a trade-off in every workers’ comp program. In almost every case, surviving family members will not be able to file an additional lawsuit against the decedent’s employer. This prohibition extends to situations where a fellow employee was careless and caused the decedent’s death.
Surviving family members are not able to opt out of this situation. In other words, a surviving spouse who is eligible for their state’s workers’ comp death benefit cannot turn that benefit down in order to sue the decedent’s employer.
Other Benefits Available to Surviving Family Members
Workers’ comp is the primary means of compensating surviving family members of a deceased worker, but that does not mean these are the only benefits they may be entitled to.
Accessing all available monetary damages requires a careful look at the facts of the deceased’s injury or illness. Again, a seasoned personal injury lawyer can conduct this review.
Lawsuits Against the Employer and Its Insurer
If a family member is not eligible for workers’ comp benefits, then they may have a right to sue the employer directly.
For example, suppose that a family member files a workplace accident death claim several years after their loved one suffered harm on the job. However, the workers’ comp insurer denies them. The insurer states that the connection between the decedent’s death and their workplace injury is too speculative. These family members may have a right to sue the employer and its insurer.
Workers’ comp death benefits do not prevent surviving family members from suing a negligent third party for damages. As long as the third party is not an employee of the decedent’s employer, a right to sue exists.
For instance, consider a delivery driver who is an employee of a company. While the driver is making a delivery, a drunk driver hits and kills them. The delivery driver’s spouse files a claim for death benefits. But the spouse can also look to the drunk driver for damages.
How to Obtain Additional Compensation
These rights to additional compensation are not guaranteed. The rules applicable to wrongful death lawsuits are applicable to these lawsuits as well.
Thus, if the statute of limitations has expired, survivors will not be able to recover any additional compensation. Similarly, if a court does not believe a third party’s negligence caused the decedent’s death, the court will deny compensation.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm for Help with Your Workplace Accident Death Claims
The Joel Bieber Firm has years of experience representing surviving family members seeking justice. This makes us a smart choice to represent your interests. Workers’ compensation death benefits and other compensation can help put you on a solid financial footing after the sudden death of a loved one.
We will guide you through the workers’ compensation process. If you are eligible to file a civil lawsuit, we can help here, too. We will assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve. Contact The Joel Bieber Firm today if your loved one died due to a workplace illness or injury.