On behalf of Law Office of Anthony L. Coviello, LLC posted in Blog on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
When people work in dangerous work environments, a serious injury that results in death can happen at any time. A sad story from northern New Jersey illustrates this point all too well. A 46-year-old man from Washington, NJ was killed on the job in an industrial accident.
The man was working for Berry Plastics in Phillipsburg, NJ when the incident occurred. According to reports, he was hit in the head while investigating a possible issue with the machine he was manning.
At the time of writing, the Morris County medical examiner hadn’t released a final cause of death. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is also investigating the incident.
Workers‘ compensation vs. wrongful death
For families who have experienced the death of a loved one at work, it can be difficult to know how best to proceed. The question some people have is whether workers’ compensation will provide death benefits or if they need to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In cases of death, the worker’s family will receive death benefits from workers’ compensation in New Jersey. Weekly death benefits paid to the family are typically 70% of the deceased worker’s wages. This amount is divided among the surviving dependents.
If an employee is injured on the job, they are typically not allowed to sue their employer. The reason for this is that the worker is covered by workers’ compensation. When workers are covered by workers’ compensation, the company is seen to be legally not at fault.
However, if the employee died at work, the surviving family and dependents may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In order for the lawsuit to be successful, you must prove that:
A workplace accident resulting in death can have a crushing effect on the surviving family members. While legal action may not be on the top of your mind, getting help from an experienced attorney may help you get through this difficult time.