Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys
Muddling through Worker’s Compensation insurance, potential OSHA violations, legal jargon, and civil lawsuits can be challenging in the best of times. It can be impossible when following the traumatic experience of someone dying in the workplace. These attorneys and business founders share their expertise and insight about employers’ accountability when an untimely death occurs during business hours.
Thomas Simeone

Thomas Simeone

Specific Damages With Worker’s Compensation Insurance

In most cases, an employer is required to obtain worker’s compensation insurance. If the employer does, an employee–or in the case of the death of an employee, the estate of the employee–who suffers physical injuries, including death, while in the scope of their employment is entitled to damages as set forth by the worker’s compensation laws of the state where the employee worked.

Under most worker’s compensation laws, the employee (or estate) does not have to file a lawsuit or prove that the injuries were the result of negligence by the employer. Instead, as long as the employee was working at the time of injury, [they or their] estate is entitled to damages. The worker’s compensation laws allow for payment of specific damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and possibly other damages.

Usually, the estate of the employee would retain an attorney; The attorney would represent the estate in a hearing before the worker’s compensation board, where the amount of damages would be determined. The amount that an employee or estate would be awarded is generally less than they would receive in a normal tort lawsuit, but, again, they are spared having to prove negligence and can obtain a recovery even without any negligence by the employer. That is a trade-off to make sure employees and their families are compensated more quickly and easily.

There are two additional issues to keep in mind. First, if an employer fails to obtain worker’s compensation insurance or otherwise to cooperate with the worker’s compensation process, such as by ignoring the employee or estate’s request to set up a claim, then the employee or estate can file a traditional lawsuit. They will have to prove negligence or some other basis for recovering against the employer. But their damages will not be limited to those generally available for a worker’s compensation claim.

Second, if the injury was due to the employer’s intentional conduct, then, again, the employee or estate may not be limited to a worker’s compensation claim but may be able to bring a private lawsuit for more damages, including punitive damages.

Death Benefits, Lost Wages, Medical And Funeral Expenses

If an employee dies while performing their duties, the employer may be held accountable in several ways. A safe workplace is something that employers must guarantee by law for their workers. Failure to do so may result in a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which could lead to fines, penalties, and other sanctions. The employer could be held responsible through worker’s compensation claims.

In cases of an employee’s death, their surviving family members may be entitled to death benefits, which could include lost wages, medical expenses incurred before the employee’s death, and funeral expenses. In some cases, the employer may also face a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a type of civil action that can be filed by the deceased worker’s family, seeking damages for the emotional and financial hardship resulting from the death.

To prove liability in a wrongful death case, the family must demonstrate that the employer’s negligence or misconduct caused the employee’s death. It is important to note that the specifics of employer accountability can vary based on jurisdiction and the unique circumstances surrounding a case. As such, it is crucial for those affected by the death of an employee to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine their rights and remedies in pursuing justice for their loved one.

Marcus Fernandez

Marcus Fernandez

An Attorney at KFB Law
Joshua Haley

Joshua Haley

Founder of Moving Astute

Financial Compensation, Fines Or Penalties, Potential Civil Lawsuits

It’s important to note that legal implications can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances surrounding the incident. In many cases, employers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees while they are on the job.

Employers are typically required to provide a safe working environment, implement safety protocols, and adhere to occupational health and safety regulations. If an employee’s death occurs due to the employer’s negligence or failure to meet these obligations, the employer may face legal consequences, such as liability for wrongful death or workplace negligence.

Accountability may involve various aspects, including financial compensation for the deceased employee’s family, potential fines or penalties imposed by regulatory bodies, and potential civil lawsuits. Employers may be held responsible for damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and emotional distress suffered by the family members.

To fully understand the legal accountability in such cases, it is essential to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer who specializes in employment law and workplace accidents. They can provide specific advice based on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the incident.

Risk Of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment and take reasonable measures to prevent employee harm. This duty of care includes implementing proper safety protocols and training programs and providing necessary equipment and resources to minimize risks. If an employee’s death is determined to result from the employer’s negligence or failure to fulfill these obligations, the employer may be held accountable legally and financially.

Employers are generally required to have workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees or their families in the event of work-related injuries or deaths. Workers’ compensation typically covers medical expenses, funeral costs, and financial support to dependents. The specific benefits and procedures may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the employee’s death.

In some cases, if the employer is found to have acted recklessly, intentionally, or with gross negligence, there may be the potential for additional legal actions such as wrongful death lawsuits. These lawsuits may seek additional compensation for the deceased employee’s family, including damages for emotional distress, loss of financial support, and other related expenses.

It’s important to note that employment laws and regulations can vary significantly across different jurisdictions. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional or employment law expert in your specific jurisdiction to obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding the employer’s accountability in the event of an employee’s death while performing their duties.

Dillon Morrison

Dillon Morrison

Co-founder, Author, and Editor at Outlighter.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.