Understanding Wrongful Death After A Construction Accident

The sudden death of a loved one is something that no one is prepared to endure and very few are prepared to handle. Unfortunately, work-related deaths do occur in the construction industry. Having a reference list in place in case of emergencies is a proactive way to ensure you and your family don’t have to deal with the added on stress of making certain decisions in the moment. The last thing a grieving family should have to deal with is handling the financial aspect of laying a family member to rest. Here are a few things you should know about making sure your family is secure in the event of a wrongful death caused by a construction accident.

Wrongful Death and Worker’s Compensation

The state of Florida generally provides the surviving benefactors of a construction worker who dies while performing work related duties worker’s compensation benefits. The benefits would sum a total of $150,000 and include $7,500 for funeral expenses, compensation to any dependants, as well as educational benefits for the surviving spouse. The benefits can be claimed up to one year following the accident or after 5 years of disability. The good thing about being covered by worker’s compensation is that survivors do not have to prove employer negligence. The bad part is that the law prevents survivors from being able to sue the employer in a civil court case given that the incident occurred in the course of employment. Cases of extreme negligence can still be presented in court but Florida law makes the odds of having a successful trial minimal.

Third-Party Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In the event that further action needs to be taken to compensate survivors, taking legal action against a third party is an option for families. Liable parties could be manufacturers, contractors, or the owner of the construction site. It is possible to have more than one claim in progress. Be advised that if the deceased’s employer was a contractor working with other contractors then all contractors and employees would have immunity due to the worker’s comp law. However, if the construction company does not have worker’s comp insurance for its employees then survivors can decide if they would like the worker’s comp benefits or if they would like to file a wrongful death claim and/or survivor action.

Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful deaths claims are made on behalf of the pain and suffering caused to survivors of the deceased construction worker. In this lawsuit the family asserts that the death was caused by employer negligence, the family suffered losses in the wake of the death, and the employer responsible should compensate the family.

Survivor Action

The idea behind the survivor’s action is that the deceased construction worker still has the right to a lawsuit due to the harm they suffered before passing away and that right does not expire because that person has died. Its distinction from a wrongful death claim is that the surviving family argues that employer negligence caused the worker pain and suffering prior to death, the deceased would have been able to sue for pain and suffering compensation had they survived the incident, and that the death of the construction worker should not allow the employer to escape liability.

Death is never any easy topic of discussion, especially when in reference to someone you love. However, having a plan of action in the event of an unexpected tragedy can mean so much to the survivors as they navigate the loss of a loved one. Consulting an experienced and compassionate attorney like Michael Babboni can help relieve some of the stress of handling wrongful death claims.