Sometimes people die in the course of their occupation. Each year, thousands of workplace accidents occur in several industries. Some of these accidents cause injuries to workers while others lead to their death.
If a loved one dies while working for their employer, you may be entitled to compensation. You may receive compensation through workers’ compensation insurance or you may have to file a wrongful death claim. In this post, we’ll explain in detail how you can get compensation when a loved one dies while working for their employer.
Table of Contents
Compensation for the Loss of Your Loved One
If an employer or third-parties’ negligent action causes a fatal accident and your loved one dies in it, you have two options. You can either make a workers’ compensation claim or file a wrongful death claim.
A workers’ compensation claim made against the employer will help you cover funeral costs and other costs associated with the death of your loved one. The main advantage of workers’ compensation is that you’ll be able to collect death benefits without proving that the negligence of the employer led to the death of your loved one.
Workers compensation is a no-fault program and you’ll be given the benefits even if the employer wasn’t negligent. You won’t have to collect any evidence to prove the negligence of the employer. You can easily get compensated and you won’t even require the help of an attorney in this case.
However, one of the major disadvantages of workers compensation is that if you accept death benefits, you won’t be able to sue the negligent employer for additional damage. Moreover, death benefits provided under worker’s compensation don’t compensate for intangible losses you sustain like loss of companionship, emotional pain, and suffering.
Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims are mostly filed when the death of an employee occurs because of:
- Transportation accidents
- Exposure to harmful or toxic substances like Asbestos
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Explosions or fires
- Contact with harmful objects or equipment. For example, an employee may get hit by an object in the hit or get crushed by heavy equipment.
By filing a wrongful death claim against the employer, you make the following argument:
- Your loved one died because of the negligence of the defendant
- You suffered losses because of your loved one’s death
Therefore, the employer who is responsible for the death of your loved one should compensate you for your losses.
Basically, in a wrongful death claim, you take legal action against your loved one’s employer for the harm that was caused to you as a result of your loved one’s death. The damages for which you may be compensated include:
- Financial expenses
- Loss of emotional support and love
- Pain and suffering
- Future earnings
In a wrongful death claim, you must prove that your loved one died because of the negligence of their employer. You’ll need evidence to prove that. It can be extremely difficult to collect the evidence to prove the negligence of the employer. The employer may not allow you to access the workplace and talk to other personnel to collect evidence. Therefore, you should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you out.
It is also important to understand that you can’t always get a maximum compensation from a wrongful death claim against the insurer. The reason is that workers’ compensation laws in some states protect the employer and limit the compensation provided to families. However, in some states, workers’ compensation rules don’t apply when an employee dies. In these states, you can file a wrongful death claim. The employer will be entitled to compensate you for your losses, provided you can prove their negligence.
In states where you can’t get a full compensation from filing a wrongful death claim, you should settle for the workers’ compensation. Alternatively, you should sue a party who was involved in your loved one’s death other than the direct employer. For example, if your loved one was an employer of a roofing company and dies while working on a roof, you may not be able to get a complete compensation if you file a claim against the roofing company. However, the roofing company might be working for a general contractor who wouldn’t be protected by the Florida worker’s compensation law. Therefore, you can file a wrongful death claim against the general contractor and obtain a full compensation from them.
You won’t be able to control your emotions when you hear the news of your loved one’s death in the workplace. The time will be hard for you and the last thing you’ll want is dealing with the company responsible for your loved one’s death. However, you must pull yourself together at such a time and think about your future. You must obtain the benefits you rightly deserve so that you can live your life without experiencing financial burden after your loved one is gone. Therefore, you should file a wrongful death claim against the employer responsible for your loved one’s death.
You should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to file a claim against your loved one’s insurer. The attorney will explain to you the process of filing a wrongful death claim and collect evidence to strengthen your position at the court. If the workers’ compensation laws in your state protect the employer, you should consider receiving death benefits you are entitled to under workers’ compensation. They may not be enough but sometimes, they may be your only option.
If you wish to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you file a claim against the employer, contact Shiner Law Group.