Wrongful Death at Work: What You Need to Know
Every year millions of Americans are injured in workplace accidents. Tragically, some of those accidents result in death. When workplace accident injuries are fatal, surviving family members are left to deal with the emotional and financial toll.
If a death stems from a work injury, family members should be due workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the details of the accident, loved ones may also be able to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawyers at G.R. Akin, P.C., work with family members in the Longview, TX, area following a wrongful death at work to pursue the full extent of damages they are due. While no amount of financial compensation can erase the pain of a death, it is important that surviving loved ones find some degree of closure, as well as financial relief for their losses.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
When a person dies as a result of a workplace accident, surviving family members who were partially or completely financially dependent on the deceased at the time of death have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. To qualify for workers’ comp death benefits, it is not necessary to show that an employer was responsible for a workplace accident, only that the accident occurred and it resulted in death.
Specific policy details may vary slightly, but most workers’ compensation insurance plans will provide death benefits that include:
- Medical expenses incurred leading up to the worker’s death
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Approximately two-thirds of the deceased’s wages (based on their rate of pay at the time of death)
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If surviving loved ones collect workers’ compensation benefits following a work-related death, they generally forfeit their right to file a wrongful death claim against the employer. However, a wrongful death claim may still be filed against a third-party. For instance, if a construction accident results in death, and the accident was caused by a defective piece of equipment, a wrongful death claim can be filed against the equipment manufacturer.
To file a wrongful death claim, surviving loved ones need to prove two things:
- Their loved one died as a result of another person or party’s reckless or negligent actions
- They have suffered financial and/or emotional losses as a result of their loved one’s death
Our Longview attorneys can review the details of a workplace death to establish if a wrongful death claim is warranted.
Wrongful Death Damages
It is important for loved ones to consider whether a wrongful death claim can be filed following the loss of a family member, because wrongful death settlements tend to provide significantly greater compensation than workers’ comp benefits. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, our attorneys help our Longview clients pursue compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased leading up to their death
- Loss of income and/or benefits
- Loss of companionship
If loved ones have not received workers’ compensation benefits they can also seek compensation for medical expenses and funeral and burial expenses, but these types of damages cannot be paid out twice.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. To learn more about your legal options, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the lawyers at G.R. Akin, P.C. To get started, contact our law firm online, or call us at (903) 297-8929.