Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit On The Job

December 10, 2015 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit On The Job On the job wrongful death claims try to remedy the damages family members and loved ones suffer after the unexpected loss of their deceased loved one.  Although there will never be enough money that is measureable to the impact this person had on their loved ones, filing such a claim can bring relief to the costs of after-life care. In doing so will be worth the try because there may be a legal remedy; especially if the death was linked to negligence in the construction industry. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2014. Out of 4, 251 worker fatalities in private industry in the calendar year of 2014, 874 or 20.5% were in construction. To put things in perspective, that amounts to one in five worker deaths last year due to working in construction. The OSHA separates the most prominent reasons for death into supplementary categories called the “fatal four” that include:
  • Falls- 349 out of 874 total deaths in construction in 2014 (39.9%)
  • Electrocutions- 74 (8.5%)
  • Struck by object- 73 (8.4%)
  • Caught in/between- 12 (1.4%)
These “fatal four” make up 58.1% of the construction worker deaths in 2014 [1]. Wrongful Death vs. Survivor Actions There are two separate types of legal claims that may arise when a construction worker dies as a result of a job related injury:
  • A wrongful death claim, and/or
  • A survivor action
Both of these claims can be made during the same case. The two differ by the type of compensation that is available afterwards. Wrongful Death Actions -by filing a wrongful death claim, the family of the deceased worker basically makes the following argument:
  • The worker died because of the defendant's negligence.
  • The worker had very close family members.
  • The family members suffered losses as a result of the death.
  • Therefore, the defendant responsible for the death should compensate the close family members for their losses.
So, in a wrongful death action, the family does not sue for harm caused to the deceased person. Rather, the family members sue for harm that was actually caused to them as a result of the loss of a loved one. These damages can include:
  • loss of quality of life
  • loss of love and emotional support, and
  • loss of financial support.
Survivor Actions -by filing a survivor claim, the family of the deceased worker basically makes the following argument:
  • The worker died because of the defendant's negligence.
  • The negligence caused pain and suffering to the worker before the worker died.
  • If the worker had survived, he or she would have been able to sue the defendant and recover compensation for the pain and suffering.
  • The defendant should not be able to escape liability for pain and suffering simply because the worker died.
  • Therefore, the defendant responsible for the death should have to pay the damages for pain and suffering to the deceased worker's estate.
The idea is that when a person is harmed, that person has a right to a lawsuit, and that right should not die with the person. Therefore, the right to sue “survives” the person's death. So, the estate of a deceased person can recover damages for the pain and suffering of a worker prior to the worker's death [2]. Recent Case in the Community On October 7th in St. Petersburg, Justin H. Smith, 27, of Dade County, was dead at the scene of a construction site after a bulldozer backed over him. The accident occurred when Albert Kimbell, 37, did not see the Smith as he backed up. Kimbell was not injured but was taken to Tampa General Hospital for precautionary reasons. There were about 20 workers on site when the accident happened, including the victims brother. The police have told reporters that the workers were pretty upset. The crew has been there for 6 to 7 weeks trying to complete the project. The OSHA plans to investigate as the police said no criminal charges will be filed [3]. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA While this incident is tragic for the community and the workers present, once all is said and done, OSHA may pursue several violations they deem appropriate or the family may file a wrongful death and/or survivor claim. Survivors may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent's injury to their death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present day value. Additionally, medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent's death may be recovered by the survivor who has paid them. Experienced attorneys like the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA use economists and accountants to help value the economic loss based on the decedent's probable net income as well as the replacement monetary value of the decedent's services to the survivor. If you have lost family due to the negligence of another person, you have our sympathies. Hire an experienced attorney who can help you get compensated so you can mourn your loss without worrying about the costs associated with losing a loved one. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, Florida 33765 727-451-6900 References: [1]  Commonly Used Statistics [2] Lawsuits for Construction Injuries [3]


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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