America has come a long way in ensuring workplace safety. However, even with state and federal government’s efforts to impose strict regulations preventing work-related accidents, they still happen, with some resulting in fatalities.
“15 workers die every day in America due to work-related injuries,” cited an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 4,764 work-related deaths occurred in America in 2020, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year, with 5,333 reported cases. According to the report, workers in transportation, material moving, construction, and extraction occupations accounted for 47 percent of all occupational deaths, earning these occupations a spot among the riskiest.
The Employer Has a Responsibility
Every employer has an ethical and legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If a work-related accident, illness, or death results from the employer’s negligence, the affected party or beneficiaries are eligible for compensation. In some states, the law requires every employer to carry worker compensation insurance coverage to protect themselves from liability and ensure that employees get compensation for workplace-related injuries or death. In Texas, that is not the case. An employer does not have to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage, but if they do not, and their negligence is a cause of the worker’s injury, the employer can be held liable for those injuries.
Wrongful death in the workplace can result from injuries sustained in an accident or from a work-related illness. The surviving beneficiaries are eligible for compensation under workers’ compensation if death was caused by an on-the-job injury or work-related illness.
Wrongful death in a workplace can also result from the negligent actions of a third party, for example, a contractor. Under such circumstances, the third party may also be liable for the damages. Typically, wrongful death benefits are payable to surviving spouses or their children.
Some of the damages an injured worker can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Loss of consortium
- Lost earnings
- Lost services
- Support or love
- Pain and suffering
If death results from a protracted illness, the bereaved dependents can recover economic damages to cover all medical bills incurred.
Additionally, if the death resulted from the intentional conduct of an employer or under circumstances that would be considered gross misconduct, surviving dependents can recover punitive damages. Wrongful death claims can sometimes result in significant payouts. However, the compensation value will depend on several factors such as the victim’s life expectancy, the level of income, factoring in future pay rise, and the age of the dependents.
Hiring A Lawyer Is Important
While a wrongful death claim is supposed to be straightforward, it can get complicated. At other times, insurance adjusters may want to deny survivors what they rightfully deserve. Therefore, hiring a personal injury attorney when navigating a wrongful death claim is important to ensure that your rights are protected.
“A wrongful death attorney will build a solid case for projected earnings over the expected lifespan of the deceased, as well as compensation for medical and funeral costs. A lawyer will also seek to obtain financial relief for the loss of love, companionship, protection, and all other compensation that is available to you,” says wrongful death lawyer Lin McCraw from the McCraw Law Group.
Most wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay after recovering your damages. While no amount of settlement can replace a loved one, compensation for the wrongful death of a breadwinner can make dealing with the loss more bearable.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.