Every day, thousands of people working in San Diego, CA, and surrounding areas face various safety risks in their workplaces. While some work environments are inherently more dangerous than others, it’s possible for life-changing workplace injuries to occur virtually anywhere, often without any warning. When workplace injuries happen in California, the workers’ compensation system provides the economic relief injured workers need to recover with peace of mind. But unfortunately, not all injured workers survive workplace accidents.
If your family recently lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, you are likely entitled to claim workers’ compensation death benefits through the insurance carrier of the deceased’s employer. However, it’s also possible to have grounds for further legal action if a specific party bears fault for your loved one’s fatal work injury or if the death resulted from egregious negligence or intentional misconduct. A San Diego workplace death lawyer can provide valuable support and guidance in this difficult situation.
When you need to take legal action in response to the death of a loved one in a workplace accident, it is essential to have legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your proceedings. Navigating the workers’ compensation claim process can be very difficult, especially for the surviving family of a deceased worker seeking death benefits. Additionally, if you have grounds for a civil action like a third-party personal injury claim, this will further complicate your situation. The Mitchell Law Corporation can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to navigate your case as successfully as possible.
Technically, it is possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits on your own, and you have no legal requirement to hire an attorney. However, the right lawyer can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your case, potentially helping you and your family secure a more expansive recovery than you initially expected. Money cannot replace your lost loved one, but an appropriate workers’ compensation death benefits settlement could help your family adjust to your new reality more easily with less financial strain. For the best chances of success with a workers’ compensation death benefits claim, an experienced attorney is the best asset to assist you and your family.
Additionally, an experienced attorney is a crucial ally if you intend to pursue further legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim process. While workers’ compensation insurance typically shields an employer from civil liability for their injured employee’s damages, it may not fully cover all the losses resulting from a fatal workplace injury, and it’s possible for a specific party to bear fault for the death in question. Therefore, if a third party is responsible for your loved one’s fatal work injury, you have the right to pursue a third-party wrongful death claim against them. This civil action could help you secure compensation for losses that workers’ compensation death benefits won’t cover.
Virtually every employer in California must carry workers’ compensation insurance. An employer’s policy will dictate what types of injuries are covered, any exclusionary conditions that would disqualify an injury from coverage, and the types of benefits allotted to certain injuries. For example, most workers’ compensation insurance policies have specific sections pertaining to fatal workplace accidents. In addition, benefits are awarded to the surviving family of an injured worker who does not survive their work-related injury.
Once the workers’ compensation insurance carrier receives a claim involving a fatal injury, they will assign an investigator to review the details of the claim. In addition, an insurance carrier may reach out to the victim’s employer and the family member filing the claim for additional information. Once the insurance carrier reaches a decision,it will deliver a determination of death benefits to the claimant. Death benefits are typically paid as a single lump sum. An experienced attorney can ensure your claim determination is suitable per the terms of the insurance policy in question, California state law, and the unique details of the death in question.
In California, workers’ compensation death benefits typically include compensation for funeral and burial expenses as well as compensation for lost financial support based on the deceased’s number of surviving dependents. Your San Diego workplace death attorney can guide you through the process of claiming workers’ compensation death benefits. If a third party caused your loved one’s death, your legal team could then assist you with building a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
Proving wrongful death is very similar to proving fault for a personal injury in California. The plaintiff establishes liability for a wrongful death by identifying the defendant and proving they acted in a manner contrary to their duty of care in the situation in question. For example, if the third party caused a fatal vehicle accident with your loved one while they were driving for work, you would need to prove the third party directly caused the accident through negligence or some intentional misconduct and directly caused your loved one’s death.
Your San Diego workplace death lawyer can be a valuable asset in obtaining the evidence you may need to establish liability for your wrongful death claim. For example, your attorney could seek physical evidence from the scene of the fatal accident in question, as well as testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the death occur. Ultimately, proving fault will entail different steps in every wrongful death case, so it’s vital to have legal representation you can trust to guide you through your case proceedings.
Workers’ compensation may provide reasonably generous compensation for a deceased worker’s grieving family. However, a third-party wrongful death claim can potentially yield a more substantial recovery for the family. The wrongful death statutes of California allow the plaintiff of a wrongful death case to seek compensation for the family’s losses resulting from the death. These generally include lost financial support provided by the deceased, lost affection, care, and guidance, lost value of household services, and loss of consortium for the deceased’s surviving spouse.
It’s important to remember that if a victim bears partial responsibility for causing their own death, California’s comparative negligence statute could come into play and diminish the final case award for a third-party wrongful death claim. This is because when a victim bears partial fault for causing their claimed damages, they lose a percentage of their case award to reflect their shared fault. Additionally, if the deceased’s estate incurred damages between the fatal incident in question and the death of the victim, these damages are not recoverable through a wrongful death claim, and the victim’s family would need to file a survival action to seek compensation for them.
As the name implies, a survival action takes the place of a personal injury claim a victim could have filed if they survived their injury. For example, if you lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, but they did not die immediately from their injury, they may have incurred expensive medical treatment costs, lost income from missing time at work, and experienced tremendous pain and suffering as they fought their best to recover. These economic losses and the victim’s pain and suffering are recoverable losses through a survival action.
A fatal workplace injury can generate very complex legal proceedings, potentially raising a workers’ compensation case, a third-party wrongful death claim, and a survival action from the same incident. If you face this type of legal situation while struggling with the death of your loved one, it is essential to seek legal counsel you can trust from an experienced San Diego workplace death lawyer.
When you choose the Mitchell Law Corporation to represent you in a San Diego workplace death case, you can expect compassionate and responsive communication with our team through every phase of your case. Our firm has extensive experience with both workers’ compensation claims and civil law, positioning our team as a leading choice in the San Diego, CA, area to represent you in a complex workplace death claim. We will carefully review the details of your situation and help you determine the best legal options available to you after losing a loved one in a fatal workplace accident.
Time is a critical factor for any workplace injury or wrongful death case. If your claim involves a complex blend of workers’ compensation insurance determinations and civil court proceedings, it’s essential to have an experienced San Diego workplace death attorney handling your case. It’s natural to feel uncertain and distressed by your circumstances after the unexpected death of a loved one in a workplace accident. The Mitchell Law Corporation can provide the guidance and support you need to confidently pursue legal recourse. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced San Diego workplace death lawyer.