What Should a Family Do After a Fatal Work Accident?

Suffering a work accident is not uncommon. If the worker is injured, they can seek workers’ compensation benefits until they are able to work again. In extreme cases, a work accident may be fatal. While this is rare, it does happen, and families can be left with many questions. Families may not understand the next steps to take after their loved ones passed away.

If an employee dies because of a workplace accident, the family can pursue death benefits, or they may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

What are Death Benefits?

Workers’ compensation death benefits may be a less complicated option, depending on the circumstances. A family should consult with an attorney to determine which option is likely to be the most beneficial.

Death benefits can be available to a large group of family members if they can demonstrate that they were financial dependent on the deceased. Eligible family members include the following:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Grandchild
  • Niece or nephew
  • Sibling
  • Aunt or uncle
  • Parent
  • Parent-in-law
  • Grandparent

In some circumstances, a spouse may be immediately eligible and children under the age of 18 years old.

In many states, the family will receive a fixed amount of money to cover funeral and burial costs. It is important to note that death benefits will not cover damages associated with pain and suffering. Also, it does not establish that the employer is responsible for the accident.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

On the other hand, a wrongful death lawsuit is directly tied to who caused the accident. There are limitations to who can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members who can pursue a wrongful death suit include a spouse, step-child, child, parent, or a minor dependent of the deceased.

Certain elements must be proven in a wrongful death case, including:

  • The surviving family members are suffering financially as a result of the decedent’s death. If the decedent was the primary source of income for the family, this will be the strongest evidence for this aspect of the case.
  • The death was caused by negligence. The family can present witnesses or other evidence to prove this point.
  • After the death of the decedent, there is now a representative for the decedent’s estate.

In a wrongful death suit, a family can seek monetary damages associated with the loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and any suffering associated with the loss of the loved one.

Should a Family Hire a Lawyer?

After a fatal work accident, the surviving family members should speak to lawyer about their legal options. Losing a loved one is hard and it could also lead to financial losses. A lawyer will help a family with a settlement so that they can focus on healing.

Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Assist Families After Fatal Work Accidents

If a loved passed away while working, one of our Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC can help you with a wrongful death suit or death benefits. Our lawyers help families heal after fatal work accidents. Complete our online form or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.

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Since Governor Wolf’s Order changing Chester County to green status, Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC is open for business. We are making every endeavor to keep our clients safe. If you would like to interact mainly by remote means, we can facilitate your request. Also, we have modified our office pursuant to the below COVID-19 safety plan to keep our clients as safe as possible.



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