Workplaces are typically safe places, where workers perform their daily tasks without having to worry about serious injuries, and certainly without having to worry about death. However, some workplaces are inherently more dangerous than others, and serious workplace accidents that result in fatal injuries can occur. When a death as a result of a work-related incident happens, surviving family members need to understand their rights regarding the recovery of death benefits through workers’ compensation insurance, as well as potentially bringing forth a wrongful death lawsuit.
Those who are most at risk of suffering a fatal on-the-job injury are blue-collar workers, particularly those who work with large, heavy, and dangerous equipment. For example, construction workers, miners, firefighters, loggers, and agricultural workers statistically suffer more injuries than do workers in other industries.
The most common causes of workplace fatalities differ by industry. Construction workers have some of the highest injury and fatal injury rates; in 2015, 21.4 percent of total worker deaths reported across the nation involved construction workers. Top killers in the construction industry include falls from heights, electrocutions, being caught in or in-between machinery/equipment, and being struck by an object.
These types of accidents can also be fatal in other industries. For example, agricultural workers are often at risk of being caught in farm equipment and machinery. Other causes of death might be exposure to inherently dangerous conditions, such as a firefighter within an on-fire building, or miners who are at risk of things like a mine collapse or explosion.
There is nothing worse than losing a loved one in a workplace accident, and for many families, the loss of a loved one can also mean a significant loss of income and questions about how to support themselves (including any children) moving forward. While nothing can replace a lost life, Illinois workers’ compensation benefits do provide death benefits to surviving family members. These benefits include payments for up to 25 years, or $500,000, whichever amount is greater. This money can be used to compensate a family for a deceased loved one’s lost earnings, as well as help to pay for funeral and burial expenses.
While $500,000+ is a lot of money, it may not be enough to compensate a family for their economic losses, let alone their noneconomic losses like pain and suffering. As such, if a third party was to blame for your loved one’s death, you may be able to bring a third-party liability suit for wrongful death damages. (Employers are protected from liability by virtue of the no-fault workers’ compensation system). Our attorneys can help you to determine whether or not a third party liability suit is appropriate.
The aggressive workers’ compensation attorneys at the law office of Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd. are committed to helping surviving family members recoup financial damages after a workplace accident that results in death. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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