According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,609 fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2011. These deaths occurred across all industries and sectors and they happened in many different types of accidents. What they all have in common, however, is that they were all tragic and every death left behind family members, friends and loved ones.
If you lost someone you loved as a result of a workplace accident, it is very important to understand your legal options. You may have the right to benefits and compensation that can help you to bear the financial burden of your loss and that can provide some measure of comfort during this difficult time. An experienced Boston wrongful death attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help you to understand your rights and to take action.Causes of Workplace Wrongful Deaths
Deaths occur at work for many different reasons. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top causes of fatal workplace injuries included:
- Violence or injuries caused by people/animals. Violence was responsible for 780 deaths.
- Transportation incidents. This can refer to car accidents or other incidents involving motor vehicles that lead to death. Transportation incidents were responsible for 1,898 of the 2011 workplace fatalities.
- Fires and explosions. Workplace fires and explores accounted for 143 deaths.
- Slips, trips and falls. These incidents accounted for 666 deaths.
- Exposure to toxins or harmful substances in the environment. Toxic exposure or exposure to a hazard was responsible for 401 deaths.
- Contact with equipment or objects. This can include being crushed by equipment or hit in the head by an object. Some type of contact injury was the cause of 708 of the workplace fatalities in 2011.
These deaths occurred in the public and private sector; in construction, in office work, in factories and in almost every other profession.Your Rights After a Workplace Wrongful Death
When someone is killed at work, the surviving family members have two potential options depending upon the circumstances. One choice is to make a workers’ compensation claim and the other is to file a civil lawsuit. In some cases, it is possible to do only one of these two things but in other cases you may be able to do both or you may have neither option available.
Workers’ compensation claims are almost always a possibility after a workplace death. A workers’ compensation claim is made against an employer and is, in fact, the only option to take legal action against an employer since employers cannot be sued for workplace accidents. Employers carry workers’ compensation insurance that pays out wrongful death benefits, including funeral costs. Other available benefits are paid to widows/widowers or eligible children. It is important to note, however, that while workers’ compensation provides survivor compensation benefits, it does not provide for non-economic loses, such as loss of companionship.
Workers’ compensation claims can be brought in any situation where a worker suffers an injury as a direct result of performing his job. This is true even in situations where the worker might have been at a spot other than his usual job site as long as he was doing something he was bound to do for his job. For example, a worker running an errand for a boss who had to run that errand and who was doing his job at the time can be eligible for workers’ compensation if he is in a car accident. By extension, his family members can make a claim on his behalf if the accident results in death.
Civil lawsuits, on the other hand, have different rules. Unlike workers’ compensation, you can obtain monetary payment for lost companionship and other non-economic damages. This is in addition to monetary damages for your financial losses. You do, however, have to prove negligence on the part of the defendant which is not required for a workers’ comp claim.
Civil suits cannot be brought against employers for work injuries because of wrongful death laws, but they can be brought against third parties who played a role in causing the workplace death.Getting Legal Help
When your loved one has been killed in a workplace accident, you need to take care of yourself and your future. This means obtaining the benefits you deserve and that the law provides. Because there are multiple possible options after a workplace death and because insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, it is very important you have an advocate working for you.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, we can evaluate your case to help you determine how best to pursue compensation for the loss of your loved one. We understand both workers’ compensation claims and civil lawsuits and we can vigorously and professionally advocate for you in obtaining any and all types of wrongful death compensation.
To schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with us today at (617) 367-2900 or contact us online.Wrongful Death Legal Help – (617) 367-2900 – Free Consultation