When a loved one passes away due to an accident at work, it can leave family members feeling devastated and confused. There is the emotional pain of losing someone close and the practical issues that come with it – such as future financial stability and legal proceedings. In cases like these, wrongful death claims may be necessary to seek justice for the deceased individual and protect their surviving relatives from further hardship.
The Dominguez Firm has represented families of wrongful death victims for over 35 years, with a 96%* success rate and over $1 billion* recovered for clients. Our powerhouse lawyers are ready to help you and your family get the justice you deserve. Call us at (800) 818-1818 for your free case evaluation.
Types of Workplace Accidents Leading to Wrongful Death Claims
Falls from Heights and Ladders
One of the most common causes of workplace fatalities is falling from heights or ladders. This type of accident can occur in any industry where workers are climbing or working on elevated platforms, and even relatively low heights can cause serious injury or death. Employers must provide proper safety equipment and training to ensure employees are not at risk of falling while performing their duties.
Workers who operate heavy machinery, vehicles, or forklifts are at risk of being involved in an accident while on the job. These accidents can occur due to driver negligence, defective vehicle parts, or inadequate maintenance and safety protocols. Employers should ensure that all drivers have adequate training and that all vehicles have been regularly inspected for safety before use.
Hazardous Materials Exposure
Employees who work with hazardous materials such as asbestos, chemicals, toxins, and radiation may be exposed to dangerous levels if proper safety measures are not taken. Employers must provide appropriate protective gear and ensure employees understand how to handle these materials safely. If exposure does occur, employers must provide medical care immediately to reduce further health risks for employees.
Employer Responsibilities and Safety Regulations
Under federal law, employers must provide employees with a safe working environment free of known hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm. This includes ensuring employees are properly trained in how to use equipment safely, providing personal protective equipment when necessary, and conducting regular safety inspections of all equipment and machinery used on the job. Employers who fail to do this can be held liable for any resulting wrongful death workplace accidents.
In addition, employers must comply with all applicable safety regulations set forth by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). These regulations cover everything from proper storage practices for hazardous chemicals and materials to providing appropriate ventilation systems in enclosed spaces. Failure to abide by these safety rules can result in significant fines and penalties and put employees at risk of injury or death.
It’s also important for employers to keep accurate records of all maintenance performed on equipment used in the workplace and document any incidents involving employee injuries or deaths. This will help protect them from potential lawsuits if they’re ever accused of not providing a safe working environment for their employees. Additionally, employers should provide ongoing training on safety procedures and ensure that employees always follow those procedures while on the job.
Establishing Negligence or Misconduct in Workplace Accidents
In some cases, it may be obvious that negligence or misconduct caused a wrongful death in the workplace. For example, suppose an employee was killed due to the employer’s failure to provide proper safety equipment. In that case, negligence can easily be established because the employer has a legal duty to protect their employees from harm.
However, there are also many gray areas in which negligence and misconduct may be difficult for families to prove independently. This is where legal assistance becomes necessary. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities of establishing negligence and proving that it was responsible for causing your loved one’s wrongful death at work.
What Does the Court Consider?
When determining whether negligence or misconduct can be proved in a wrongful death case, courts typically consider factors such as:
- The extent of any injury and damage caused by the negligent act;
- Whether the person who acted negligently failed to exercise reasonable care; and
- Whether they violated any laws or regulations related to safety in the workplace.
By considering these factors, courts can determine whether an individual was negligent or committed misconduct that led to an employee’s wrongful death in the workplace—and consequently, accountable for damages.
Workers’ Compensation and Its Limitations
Although workers’ compensation provides some financial relief for victims and families affected by workplace accidents, it has major limitations regarding wrongful death cases. For starters, it does not allow any sort of punitive damages or emotional distress damages. So, even if the employer was negligent in causing the accident which led to your loved one’s death, they would not be held liable beyond what is covered under workers’ compensation law. Furthermore, there may be a cap on how much money you can receive through workers’ compensation. In California, the payout range is between $250,000 – $320,000, depending on the number of dependents.
Another limitation is that you cannot sue your employer directly for wrongful death, even if they were negligent or otherwise responsible for your loved one’s death. Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, however, you may have other legal avenues available such as filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party involved in the incident (e.g., property owner) or bringing a civil suit against your employer for negligence or intentional wrongdoing related to their actions leading up to the incident (e.g., failure to provide safety equipment).
These lawsuits can help compensate you beyond what is available through workers‘ compensation law. They also allow you to seek punitive damages, which can be significant depending on how egregious your employer’s actions were leading up to your loved one’s death.
The Role of Third-Party Liability in Workplace Wrongful Death Cases
What is Third-Party Liability?
Third-party liability is a legal term that refers to any party other than the victim who may be held responsible for damages caused by their actions or negligence. This could include a company or individual involved in the incident leading up to the victim’s death, such as an employer or contractor. To prove third-party liability in a wrongful death case, it must be shown that the defendant’s actions were either negligent or intentional and resulted in the victim’s death. If a court finds third parties liable for damages related to a wrongful death claim, they must pay compensation for any financial losses incurred by the family due to their loved one’s passing.
How Can it Help My Wrongful Death Case?
In many workplace accidents, multiple parties are often responsible for the incident leading up to a worker’s death. For example, if an employee dies while working on scaffolding that was not installed properly due to lax safety standards at their place of work, both the employer and contractor who supplied and installed the scaffolding can be held responsible for damages under third-party liability laws. This means that families of wrongful death victims can seek compensation from multiple sources instead of just one party, potentially increasing their chances of receiving full compensation for their losses. Furthermore, if you file your case against more than one party, they may be more likely to settle out of court since they could be found equally liable for damages should your case go to trial.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
It can be overwhelming for families to deal with the loss of a loved one while also trying to file a lawsuit against those responsible for their death. This is why it is so important for victims’ families to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to help them navigate the legal process and ensure they receive the compensation they are entitled to by law. An experienced lawyer will have extensive knowledge about the laws governing wrongful death cases and will also know how to negotiate with insurance companies. Additionally, attorneys can access resources such as expert witnesses, which may prove invaluable during litigation proceedings.
The Value of Timely Action
It is also critical for families dealing with wrongful death cases to act quickly. Statutes of limitations (time limits) dictate how long after a person’s passing, survivors may pursue legal action against those responsible for their relative’s death. Consulting an experienced attorney right away will ensure that your family does not miss out on any potential opportunities because these statutes force survivors to take quick action to preserve their rights under the law.
Let The Dominguez Firm Seek Justice for You
Wrongful death cases can be complex and emotionally draining for victims’ families. Hiring a qualified personal injury attorney who understands how time-sensitive these claims are is essential. Additionally, third-party liability may offer more opportunities for compensation than other legal avenues. Hence, it’s worth exploring whether any parties beyond your employer or contractor could have contributed to the accident leading up to your loved one’s passing.
The Dominguez Firm has over 35 years of experience representing the families of wrongful death victims with a 96%* success rate and over $1 billion* recovered. Contact us today at (800) 818-1818 if you need help obtaining justice against those responsible for your family member’s untimely death.
My experience was good. They made sure to kept me in the loop and made sure to let me know what was going on the whole time. My mom has used other attorneys and this experience was beyond better. I would definitely recommend them!
— Ashley Magana
The attorneys were always available and answered my questions. I would recommend them to anyone. Zoe is the best!
— Janet Salazar
My experience with The Dominguez Firm and the attorneys was really good. They were very informative and always returned my calls.
— Jocelyn Gonzalez