Choosing Wrongful Death or Workers’ Compensation

You may be suffering from a serious loss if your loved one recently died in a workplace accident. Depending on the type of job your loved one had, they may have worked in a particularly dangerous industry (such as construction) or this kind of death may have come completely as a surprise. Whatever the circumstances, we believe you are owed some type of compensation for the wrong you are experiencing and the hurt you will likely experience for years to come. Losing a loved one because of an accident at work is not simple and you may be wondering if it is possible to receive compensation through a wrongful death claim or workers’ compensation. There are a few options you could choose from and a lawyer would like to help. 

Workers’ Compensation

While it may seem like an avenue not worth pursuing because your loved one is dead, you can still pursue workers’ compensation benefits if your spouse died in an accident at work. This is usually called “death benefits” and is a certain amount of money that the surviving family members could expect to receive if their loved one died at work. It is important to speak with your attorney regarding your state’s rules about death benefits and how the amount is determined. A few quick facts about death benefits. 

  • You get a certain amount depending on the benefits of the deceased
  • This is typically easier than a wrongful death suit because it is usually a no-fault system
  • You would give up your right to sue the employer
  • There is a cap on the benefits (depending on your state)

Wrongful Death

While it is not always so simple to file a lawsuit against an employer as an employee, it is possible for a loved one to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if their family member died as a result of a workplace injury. To do this, though, you must prove that your loved one’s death happened because of someone else’s negligence and that you and other loved ones are suffering because of the death. These should be tangible and intangible losses.  A few quick facts about wrongful death.

  • You need to be able to show there was negligence, this is not a no-fault system
  • There is not a cap to the damages
  • You can sue for tangible and intangible losses
  • This can take much longer to settle than a workers’ compensation claim

Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim for your loved one after they died at work, contact a wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL now for more information. 

Thanks to David & Philpot, P.L. for their insight into personal injury claims and wrongful death while at work.