The death of a loved one in a work accident is devastating. There are so many questions that the family may have. How did the accident happen? Could it have been prevented? What do we do now? The spouse may be wondering how he or she is going to support the family without the worker's income.
From many previous posts, it is clear that injured workers can seek workers' compensation if the injury occurred during the scope and course of their job. But these types of benefits may also be available to family members who have lost a loved one in a work accident. Dependency and death benefits can help to make up for the worker's support. The recent death of a construction worker in Colorado may involve these types of benefits.
The workplace accident happened a few weeks ago. The construction worker was working on a drill with several other employees. Somehow the cord from the man's safety rope got entwined with the drill. When the drill was turned back on, the man was unable to get free of his rope and was killed as a result.
Currently, the incident is under investigation by OSHA. OSHA is looking for any evidence or safety violations or negligence that contributed to the man's death. If any are found, the construction company could be facing serious penalties.
Even if the company is fined, this is likely little comfort for the family who is still grappling with their loved one's death. It is unclear whether he was married or had children, but if he did they may have many questions that will remain unanswered until the investigation is complete.
And while no amount of money can reverse what happened, death benefits can help a family deal with some of the financial pressures and challenges such as funeral expenses and lost wages that can arise after an unexpected death. Applying for these benefits can be a complicated process; going through the necessary paperwork with someone who understands workers' compensation can help the process go more smoothly.
Source: Aspen Daily News: "OSHA probes man's employer after fatal Highlands accident," Chad Abraham, Aug. 13, 2011.