What is Workplace Wrongful Death?
Workplace wrongful death is one of the most tragic things to happen to thousands of families every year. Loved ones head to work expecting to return home at the end of the day. Then tragedy strikes, and family members receive the call: “there’s been an accident”. Receiving this kind of phone call is the beginning of what will become an emotionally trying time for a grief stricken family.
This writeup will seek to lay out exactly what surviving family members must know to protect their rights after they’ve suffered a wrongful death. No matter how the wrongful death occurred, victims have rights. Personal Injury lawyers are there to ensure those rights are upheld.
Within this Shaked Law Firm article, we’ll provide information surviving family needs to know after experiencing the workplace Wrongful Death of a loved one.
- What do OSHA officials say about wrongful death?
- Why is a hiring a Personal Injury lawyer necessary after Wrongful Death?
- Do I pursue a lawsuit or workman’s compensation?
- What are survival actions?
- When does a Wrongful Death case go to trial?
What do OSHA officials say about Wrongful Death?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the statistics for construction site-specific related workplace wrongful death is staggering! Nearly 19%! OSHA lists causes of the most common reasons for construction site employee deaths. These causes are the “fatal four”.
What are the “fatal four” according to OSHA?
- Crush injuries (caught between or inside construction equipment)
- Blunt force injuries (struck by falling or swinging object not properly secured)
Why is hiring a Personal Injury lawyer necessary after a Wrongful Death?
When a family member dies, the last thing survivors want to think about is the legal side of that death. They’re grieving, and the thought of long, arduous litigation can cause mental anguish. That’s why a Personal Injury lawyer with experience is necessary in workplace Wrongful Death cases.
Unfortunately, the reality is much different. It’s important to hire a Personal Injury lawyer as soon as possible after a a presumably Wrongful Death. Lawyers with experience excel in understanding and compassion for the family’s grief. This compassion ensures the legal process doesn’t cause further mental anguish. An experienced lawyer knows how to protect the rights of the decedent and their surviving family members.
Following a death in the workplace it’s important to determine whether the death occurred due to the negligence of another. Employer liability involving Wrongful Death is a time-sensitive matter that must addressed within the statute of limitations in order to provide the maximum amount of compensation for the grieving family. No dollar amount will ever replace a family member. However, compensation for lost wages after a workplace wrongful death can mitigate undue stress.
Do I pursue a lawsuit or workman’s compensation?
In the case of serious bodily injury that does not result in death, a victim has a very difficult decision to make. Does the injured employee retain representation and sue the employer? Do they file for workers’ compensation benefits? A victim cannot do both.
In Florida, if a victim accepts workers’ compensation benefits they forfeit the right to sue the employer for injuries sustained in the accident. However, this also works in reverse. If a victim sues the employer for their injuries, they may not also claim workers’ compensation.
What are survival actions?
Next, a brief overview of survival actions. In future articles, we’ll provide more insight into what the process of pursuing these actions is. However, to summarize:
A lawyer for a client’s family may be able to obtain damages relating to the accident as the cause of the Wrongful Death. This is pursuing survival actions. In the case of a Wrongful Death, “Personal Injury” causes harm to the family as a result of their family member’s passing. More so, the victim was certainly suffering immense pain prior to his or her death.
When does a Wrongful Death case go to trial?
When surviving family choose to pursue damages by bringing litigation against the employer, an experienced lawyer is well prepared for these types of cases. In these instances the court will need to establish the following:
- Did the employee die because of the defendant’s negligent behavior at the workplace?
- Did the defendant knowingly cause pain and suffering to the employee before their passing?
- Had the employee not passed away, would he or she have had grounds for a lawsuit in regards to the accident?
These questions, from the plaintiff’s perspective, would be the basis of the lawsuit. A Personal Injury lawyer who regularly and successfully handles these cases will have the most experience in the “discovery rule”.
Only a lawyer with experience will be able to appropriately advise a family on the requirements of pursuing Personal Injury litigation.
Finally, it’s important to remember: the Statute of Limitations clock begins ticking when the victim’s family discovers through the reasonable due diligence, the cause of death. In the context of this article, this means the lawyer must establish (“the burden of proof”) how the accident resulting in death occurred.