Texas & New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyers

What Happens After a Wrongful Death Occurs at Work?

Losing a loved one due to another person’s negligence or intentional actions can be shocking and confusing. If the death happens while the person was on the job, there can be many questions about who is at fault and who must compensate the surviving family. These cases are often complicated and require experienced assistance from a Texas workplace accident attorney.

Families have the right to seek justice on behalf of their family members. Let’s examine what happens after a wrongful death occurs at work.

Common Workplace Accidents in Texas

Each year, the Texas Department of Insurance performs a survey to determine the number of occupational injuries and illnesses among private employers. In 2022, there were 178,800 nonfatal incidents, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 578 fatal occurrences in the workplace. The most common causes of these deaths included:

  • Contact with objects and equipment: This may include electric shock, getting caught in machinery, or being hit by falling or projectile objects.
  • Exposure to harmful substances: If hazardous materials are not properly stored and handled, victims may be exposed to dangerous fumes, liquids, or solids. Contact or inhalation can lead to death.
  • Slips, trips, and falls: Uneven footing, missing safety railings or gear, and poor lighting can cause employees to suffer head trauma, fall from heights, or contact with dangerous equipment.
  • Fires and explosions: Everyone must take precautions to prevent fires and malfunctions that could lead to explosions in the workplace. Negligent employees or employers who overlook lax safety protocols could be accountable for a wrongful death.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: Operators for cranes, construction trucks, cars, forklifts, and other vehicles can lose control and kill employees on the job. A wrongful death at work can also happen when the victim drives as part of their employment duties.
  • Violence: Sometimes, a wrongful death happens from physical assault by a person, either another employee or an outside person committing a crime.
  • Disease: If a highly infectious disease is present in the workplace and there are failures to maintain a safe environment, surviving family members may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those at fault.

Construction sites are the most common locations for falls, electrocution, and fires when it comes to death in the workplace. In any job environment, there may be multiple parties responsible. While employer insurance programs often provide a death benefit for a worker’s family, survivors may have the option to file a third-party wrongful death lawsuit against contractors, visitors, vendors, and anyone else not directly related to the employer.

Employees in Texas Have the Right to a Safe Workplace

Nearly all accidents can be traced to human error or carelessness, meaning someone can be held accountable. Part of developing a wrongful death case includes examining laws that may have been violated. While some industries and job sites are more dangerous than others, all workers in the United States are guaranteed the right to safety from preventable hazards.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) oversees and enforces all regulations applying to how equipment is used and maintained, employee training, and safety protocols at places of work. When someone fails to adhere to these regulations, they could be liable for both civil and criminal penalties. When someone dies as a result of their negligence, the family can seek compensation.

What to Do After a Wrongful Death at Work

When your loved one has died due to a work-related cause, it’s vital to take action right away. Although you are likely overwhelmed with grief, by speaking with an attorney as soon as possible, you can understand how to best seek justice for your loved one. You should gather as much information as you can and share that during your initial consultation.

Many companies will try to avoid admitting fault in relation to the death, meaning you may have a fight on your hands to recover the compensation your family deserves. By engaging a qualified law firm, you can focus on grieving and helping your family through this trying time while your attorney manages the details of the wrongful death claim. They will provide crucial services, such as:

  • Interviewing witnesses and experts
  • Conducting a thorough investigation
  • Collecting maintenance, safety, employee, medical, and other records
  • Requesting photos and video footage of the incident
  • Reviewing workplace standards against OSHA regulations
  • Identifying all potentially liable parties
  • Building a robust claim for insurance or the courtroom
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and the employer for a fair settlement

While no amount of money can replace your loved one’s presence in your life, you have the right to seek compensation from those who caused or contributed to the loss. Facing an uncertain financial future without their support and income could be devastating to your family. A capable wrongful death attorney will make every effort to secure the maximum settlement so you can adjust to life without your family members.

Seeking Compensation After a Wrongful Death at Work

According to Texas Statutes section 71.001, if someone causes the death of another person by means of a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default,” they can be sued for wrongful death. In some situations, the person may die right away, or they may linger for some time before passing away. If the injured person filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties before they died, the surviving family members would have the right to convert it to a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow the family to recover all the expenses their loved one amassed prior to their death, including medical bills, treatment costs, and lost income. In addition, the family’s workplace accident lawyer can guide them in recovering other damages, such as:

  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral costs
  • Grief, shock, depression, and fear over the death
  • Transportation, cremation, and burial of the deceased’s remains
  • Loss of companionship for family members
  • Loss of consortium for the surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Loss of financial support from the deceased
  • Loss of guidance, comfort, and support for children
  • Loss of household services previously performed by the deceased
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Mental anguish

Some of these damages are economic, with a specific price, while others are non-economic and address the emotional toll of a wrongful death. Texas allows surviving spouses, parents, and children to file wrongful death claims, either individually or as a group, within three months of the death. After that time, the executor of the lost loved one’s estate must file the claim.

Contact Farah Law Today

At Farah Law, we are committed to helping you and your family recover after a wrongful death happens at work. The employer may tell you, “We are family,” but you must work with a trustworthy and aggressive workplace accident attorney to ensure they are held accountable for the loss. Companies will usually put their bottom line over your needs and refuse to take the blame.

Our team will not let that happen. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today and learn more about what happens after a wrongful death in the workplace.