People rarely expect work-related deaths to happen to their loved ones. But your life can change instantly after they go to work and never come back home due to a fatal New York workplace accident. In these cases, you may have the right to seek compensation for your loss.
After losing your loved one in a work-related death, you may typically file for workers’ compensation. Benefits for fatalities provide the funds needed to cover funerals and related death costs, and other damages may be available as well. Some loved ones may choose workers’ compensation because this route does not require you to prove that the employer caused the accident through negligence.
Wrongful death lawsuit
If your loved one died due to the negligence of the employer, you may be more interested in pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. During the wrongful death lawsuit, you must be able to prove that the employer was at fault due to negligence and that you suffered as a result. The following people are among those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
• Surviving spouse
• Surviving children
• The personal representative of the decedent’s estate
Weather and “acts of God”
If the accident occurred due to “an act of God,” such as extreme weather or a lightning strike, you may need to pursue a wrongful death claim because worker’s compensation will not cover it. Lighting strikes particularly affect construction and outdoor workers. OSHA notes that the following industries are more likely to experience work-related death caused by lightning strikes:
• Heavy equipment operator
• Lawn service
• Pool maintenance
Whether you file for workers’ compensation or bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you could experience resistance from the employer. However, the damages awarded after a jury trial could be higher than the amount of benefits received from a workers’ compensation claim.