If My Spouse Was Injured or Killed at Work, Do I Have a Lawsuit?
Unfortunately, going to work is a part of our existence as we need money to cover a home mortgage, rent, utilities, and groceries. Some people truly enjoy their line of work, while others can’t wait to find another place of employment.
Regardless of your circumstances, you should always return home to your family or friends safe and in one piece. The threat of getting seriously hurt or tragically killed at your place of employment should never cross your mind.
Yet, sadly, it does happen. Every day in the United States, an average of 14 workers go to a place of employment never to return home.
What happens if your spouse was seriously injured or killed at work? Can you sue the employer or another party that is responsible for the death?
You are entitled to compensation for death at work if you are a surviving family member of a victim. However, it is not that simple, as you may need to prove evidence of neglect and liability for a favorable outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Workplace Injuries & Deaths in the United States
According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), nearly 5,200 people died from workplace injuries in 2016. It is an average of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees in the U.S.
The statistics also do not include the estimated 50,000-60,000 workers each year that die from diseases linked to their occupation. For example, a worker that deals with toxic chemicals or a defective product does not always get linked to workplace death.
Therefore, some organizations anticipate that at least 150 workers die each day in America related in some way to their workplace.
Understanding the Process of Workplace Accident Claims
Workplace injuries and deaths in America are alarmingly high yet have come a long way since the establishment of unions and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Regardless, there are measures in place designed to protect workers and their rights in America.
When you get injured at work, your employer is required to have workers compensation insurance to help you deal with hospital visits, medical bills, treatment, and missed time from work.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation in America doesn’t always cover the extent of the damages, particularly in a serious injury or death. Consequently, there are many situations where surviving members of a workplace accident victim can receive additional workers’ compensation survivor benefits:
- When the victim is seriously injured or killed by a defective product.
- When a victim passed away from health complications related to working around a toxic substance at their place of work.
- If a third party caused the injuries or death.
- A victim is killed tragically by intentional conduct from an employer which led to death.
- When an employer does not carry workers’ compensation or refuses to protect you under your rights.
Though workers’ compensation is a good thing, it doesn’t always cover the extent of the injuries, especially in cases of wrongful death. Workers’ compensation may only provide basic coverage for temporary disability or minimum long-term disability payments.
Workers’ compensation also doesn’t compensate workers for issues like pain and suffering caused by the accident. The same pain and suffering can apply to surviving family members (i.e. the spouse) of a victim.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits – Know Your Rights
Wrongful death claims get filed against a defendant who may have caused or contributed to the death of someone else. Wrongful death lawsuits are proven based on negligence or as a result of some intentional action.
You should pursue it in addition to basic workers comp survivor benefits if you believe there is a worthwhile case. Speaking with a knowledgeable, experienced injury claim lawyer can help determine the validity of your case.
It is important to consider a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of a workplace accident that leads to death. It allows the estate to file a lawsuit against a liable party and possibly receive fair compensation for the damages.
Losing a significant other or parent to a workplace death can cause plenty of turmoil for the family. The family may struggle to find ways to make ends meet, not to mention the emotional and psychological damages.
Here for You in Your Time of Tragedy
Make no mistake; workplace accidents that lead to death are absolute tragedies. It does not make life easy for the surviving members of the family. Often the last thing they want to deal with is a drawn-out lawsuit, yet it may be the only means to fair and adequate compensation for damages.
This is why you need to hire a dependable and caring legal team that understands your difficult circumstances and is willing to fight for you. Greenberg & Stein wants to protect your rights and represent you when you may not have the power or control to do so yourself.
Reach out to us as soon as possible following a workplace accident that led to death. We are available for free consultations by calling 212-969-8770 or visiting www.greenbergandstein.com.