On-the-job injuries and fatalities can occur in virtually every work setting – including a seemingly safe office environment. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,1 approximately 4,405 employees in the United States were killed on the job last year. This statistic translates into 85 death per week – or 12 deaths per day.
Under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Statute,2 if an employee dies as a result of an accidental injury on the job, the employee’s dependents may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. A decedent employee’s dependents typically include the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and grandchildren.
If someone you love was killed on the job in an accident that occurred while in the scope of that person’s employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits under Florida law. Our experienced St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyers regularly represent injured workers and their dependents and have the necessary legal skills to help you obtain the monetary compensation you may be entitled to under the law.
Common Causes of Workers’ Compensation Fatalities and Other Serious Injuries at Work
On-the-job fatalities can occur in any work setting, from a construction site to an office setting. What follows are some of the most common causes of fatalities and other serious injuries that workers sustain while on the job.
Operating heavy machinery for long periods – Heavy machinery and equipment includes construction equipment, such as cranes, forklifts, diggers, and other tools and machines, where the operational dangers are inherent and the risks of serious injury or death are extremely high. Serious injuries and deaths can be prevented by wearing the proper protective gear and attempting to avoid overexertion.
Electrocution – Construction workers, builders, and other laborers are around electrical wires on a daily basis, potentially exposing themselves to faulty wiring and/or on-the-job electrocution, resulting in serious injuries or death.
Defective equipment – Defective, damaged, or malfunctioning equipment and parts, such as machine parts that are not securely fastened or equipment that is not properly maintained or repaired (or which is not properly maintained or repaired in a timely manner), can cause serious injuries or death to workers. In order to avoid accidental injuries and deaths caused by defective or malfunctioning equipment, it is important for workers to look for loose parts on the machinery and equipment which they operate – and to look for signs of deterioration or damage.
Falls – Slip-and-fall accidents have the potential to result in serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities in the workplace. Falls in the workplace are typically caused by wet and slippery floors, loose carpeting, and/or loose floor tiles. The serious injuries and deaths that result from workplace slip-and-fall accidents can ultimately be lessened or avoided by keeping the work environment clutter-free – and by placing warning signs and placards in the vicinity to warn workers of a floor’s slippery condition.
Transportation Accidents – Workers who drive motor vehicles as a part of their employment are exposed to the risk of fatal motor vehicles accidents and crashes on a daily basis. This class of workers includes truck drivers, bus drivers, and any other employee who drives to or from work every day.
Toxic substances – Some workers also run the risk of exposure to toxic substances, including asbestos and chromium compounds in their work environments, which can lead to severe injuries or death.
On-the-job accidents and fatalities often occur suddenly – with little or no warning – and the results can be both emotionally and financially devastating to the deceased worker’s surviving family. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers will fight for you and help you to obtain the benefits and compensation that your family needs and deserves in your time of need.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are normally available to an injured worker when that worker is injured accidentally (i.e. without regard to fault), on the job, and while working within the scope of the employment. However, when an injured worker dies on the job, not only must the surviving family members mourn the death of their lost loved one, they must also deal with the reality of a significantly reduced family or household income.
Under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Statute, a surviving spouse and/or the deceased worker’s surviving dependents may be entitled to death benefits. If the work-related death occurs within one year of the date of the work accident (or after five years of continuous disability), the following benefits may be payable, up to a maximum of $150,000.00:
- Funeral expenses of up to $7,500.00, which the injured worker’s employer is required to pay within 14 days of receiving the funeral bill
- Compensation to the deceased worker’s dependents, as required by law
- Educational benefits to the deceased worker’s surviving spouse
The Florida Workers’ Compensation Statute also requires the employers to pay the deceased worker’s dependents a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wages. The amount of the benefits and percentage recovery owed to each recipient depends upon the deceased worker’s individual situation, as well as the particular family relationship of the dependent to the deceased worker (i.e. whether the dependent is a spouse, child, parent, or sibling).
Contact a Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
On-the-job fatalities can have devastating consequences for a decedent worker’s surviving dependents and loved ones, not to mention the personal trauma associated with losing a beloved family member.
Immediately following the death of a loved one in an on-the-job accident, the last thing that is likely to be on your mind is monetary compensation. Our experienced Clearwater workers’ compensation attorneys have the necessary legal knowledge and experience to handle every aspect of your workers’ compensation death benefits case, offering you peace of mind and giving you the time to mourn the loss of your loved one. Our experienced St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyers can help you to obtain the long-term benefits that you and your family need and deserve under Florida law.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765