What to do if a loved one dies at work: Your legal options
The loss of a loved one is always devastating, but when that loss is the result of a preventable accident at work, the pain can be even more acute. The emotional toll is accompanied by significant financial hardships, especially if the deceased was a primary breadwinner. If you’re seeking justice in such a wrongful death case, it’s important to understand your legal options.
Understanding Wrongful Death in the Workplace
Wrongful death is a legal term used when someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. In the context of the workplace, these deaths might occur due to various reasons – faulty equipment, unsafe working conditions, lack of adequate safety measures, or improper training.
Workplace accidents can happen in any industry, but they are particularly prevalent in high-risk occupations such as construction, manufacturing, and transportation (^). Yet, no matter the industry, employers have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment. When they fail to do so, and it results in the death of an employee, they can be held legally accountable.
Your Legal Options
If you are a family member of a victim who has suffered a wrongful death in the workplace, you have the right to seek compensation for the loss of that family member.
Here are some legal options available to you:
(Please remember that not all cases are the same and that each individual outcome may vary.)
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
In South Carolina, when an employee dies due to a job-related accident or illness, the surviving dependents (such as a spouse or children) are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. These benefits typically cover funeral expenses and provide a portion of the deceased’s wages to help support the family.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
According to Justia, wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought against the party whose negligence or misconduct caused the death. This could be against the employer, a co-worker, or a third party like a manufacturer of faulty equipment. Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit can include lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, funeral costs, and compensation for pain and suffering. (Please remember that not all cases are the same and that each individual outcome may vary.)
A survival action is another type of lawsuit that can be filed after a wrongful death. While a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the surviving family members for their loss, a survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased person. It seeks compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased endured before their death, as well as any financial losses incurred during that period.
Why is it important to have Legal Representation?
Navigating the complexities of wrongful death laws and workers’ compensation systems can be challenging, particularly while dealing with grief. This is where an experienced wrongful death attorney comes in. An experienced law firm that handles wrongful deaths can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
While no amount of compensation can truly make up for the loss of a loved one, pursuing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit can provide financial relief and a sense of justice. Remember, you do not have to go through this painful process alone. Reach out to a law firm who can help you navigate these complex legal waters.