Although many personal injuries that result in death can be addressed by bringing a wrongful death claim, if a work injury is to blame, it is typically handled through a workers’ compensation claim. When employers obtain workers’ compensation insurance, they are effectively immune from liability. Although intended to make the employee “whole again” through any injury received at work, in some particularly egregious cases, where an employee was severely injured or killed due to an employer’s negligence, it can result in an injustice. Consulting with an experienced attorney on these issues can ensure that you have explored all potential options in receiving justice for your loved ones.
Conditional Death Benefits
Those who lose a loved one due to an on-the-job injury can sometimes receive death benefits through workers’ compensation. This is typically reserved for those who are at least in part dependent upon the deceased and/or members of their family or household (husband or wife, dependents, next of kin, etc.). An experienced attorney can assist you with all of the many requirements associated with filing these claims. For example, dependents must often prove that they are dependent and help address any potential dispute as to whether the death was work-related.
State law provides for weekly compensation benefits (as well as burial expenses), typically to dependent children until they reach age 18 (or sometimes older, depending on whether they are enrolled in school), where compensation starts as of the date of the death. The general amount of compensation is based on the dependent. For example, a surviving spouse is generally entitled to 51 percent of the decedent’s weekly wage. However, if the decedent also left minor children, it is a higher percentage of the decedent’s prior weekly wage.
Although a claim for death benefits under workers’ compensation typically must be filed within three years of the death and the death must have occurred within 300 weeks of the injury, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can also assist you in obtaining an extension on the statute of limitations.
What about Intentional Wrongdoing?
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania courts have found that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not provide a provision to sue where an injury was caused by the employer’s intentional wrongdoing. However, there are instances where an experienced personal injury attorney can help you find another means addressing the negligence that led to wrongful death, such as when a third party is all or partially responsible for the incident.
Put a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer on Your Side
Hiring a skilled workers’ compensation and/or wrongful death attorney is important if you are dealing with a loved one who has been killed as the result of a work injury. And involving skilled attorneys in your case as early as possible increases your chances of ensuring that you and your loved ones are taken care of. The experienced team at Solnick & Associates LLC can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.