If a loved one was killed in a construction accident in New Bedford, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the construction industry registers more workplace deaths than any other industry. The top 4 causes of deaths include:
- Struck by an object
- Caught in/between
In most cases, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the last thing close family members think of. A lawsuit cannot undo what has already been done. But if you suspect that the death of your loved one was because of negligence, it may be worth looking into a legal remedy.
We are going to discuss the difference between a survivor action and a wrongful death lawsuit and how workers compensation affects your case.
Survivor Action and Wrongful Death
When a loved one dies because of a job related injury, there are two types of potential lawsuits that can arise: wrongful death and survivor action.
You can file both claims in the same case. The difference between the two claims is the type of damages you can recover from each.
Survivor actions typically involve the following arguments:
- Your loved one died due to his employer’s negligence
- Because of the negligence, your loved one went through a lot of pain and suffering before they died.
- If your loved one had survived the accident, they would have been able to sue their employer and recover compensation for pain and suffering.
- Your loved one’s employer should not escape liability simply because your loved one died.
- If the employer was responsible for the death of your loved one, they should pay the damages for pain and suffering t the deceased workers’ estate.
A survivor claim is only available after someone has died. The idea behind a survivor claim is that the deceased has a right to a lawsuit and it should not die with that person. This means that the right to sue “survives” the person’s death. You can therefore recover damages for pain and suffering of your loved one before their death.
Wrongful death action involves the following argument:
- Your loved one died due to their employer’s negligence
- You were a close family member of your loved one
- You suffered losses as a result of your loved one’s death
- Therefore, your loved one’s employer should compensate you for your loss.
In a wrongful death action, you won’t sue for harm caused to your loved. Instead, you will sue for harm that was caused to you as a result of the loss of your loved one. You will be able to recover a number of damages including:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of emotional support and love
- Loss of quality of life.
To find out more about the damages you are entitled to, we suggest that you speak to a personal injury lawyer in New Bedford.
Workers Compensation Laws
Workers compensation laws were created to prevent workers from suing their employers. They also protect and ensure employees are compensated after an accident.
A worker’s compensation claim does not require you to prove that you were not at fault or that the employer was negligent. All you have to do is prove that you were hurt while working for your employer. There are of course exceptions to the rule. For instance, if you got hurt because you were drunk or intoxicated at the time of the accident, there’s a high chance you might not receive compensation. This explains why most employers request employees to take drug tests as they receive medical treatment for their injuries.
How Do Workers Compensation Laws Affect Survivor Actions and Wrongful Death?
This is a very hard question to answer considering the laws differ from one state to the other. There are some states where workers compensation rules do not apply. In such a case, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against your loved one’s employer and recover damages in survivor actions and wrongful death as described in this post previously.
In states where the rules do not apply, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit but the damages you recover will be limited. If you find that your recoveries are limited, you can file a lawsuit against a third party, that is, someone else other than your loved one’s employer.
For instance, if your loved one died because an electrical hydraulic excavator caught fire and burst into flames while operating it, you can sue the employer and recover damages but workers compensation laws will limit what you can recover. However, workers compensation laws do not protect the manufacturer of the hydraulic excavator so you might be able to recover damages outside workers’ compensation limitations.
Beyond Workers Compensation Benefits
Although worker’s compensation laws ensure that you receive benefits following a fatal construction accident, the benefits may not adequately deal with the financial burden that your family will bear after the loss of a breadwinner. Moreover, workers compensation is a no fault system so it does not bother to establish responsibility for the death.
You can file a wrongful death claim if:
- You are an immediate family member
- You are the surviving spouse
- You were the loved one’s adult child
- If your loved one was single and you are a distant family member such as a grandparent, uncle, aunt, etc.
- You are the executor of a will left behind by your loved one.
Sometimes family members can disagree about who should file the lawsuit. It’s not unusual to find that more than one lawsuit has been filed in such cases. In case this happens, courts usually consolidate all the claims into a single lawsuit.
If your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, our wrongful death lawyers in New Bedford can help you with your case. Fatal construction accidents usually involve negligence of another party including:
- Defective equipment
- Structural collapses
- Crane accidents
- Failure to ensure safety measures, etc.
At Kevin P. Landry Offices, our attorneys have the skills and experience to build a strong case for you and aggressively pursue compensation for your loss. Contact us at 508-999-0800 for a free initial consultation.