Losing a loved one is a tragic loss that leaves a deep hole in our hearts, one that can never be filled. It’s even more painful when the person’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence and could have been fully avoided if the right safety measures had been implemented.
Unfortunately, in the United States, around 20% of workplace deaths happen at building sites. The most common causes of these deaths are due to falls from high places, being hit by falling debris, electrocution, and being trapped between objects such as when a trench collapses. The property owners or general contractors are responsible for ensuring the workers have a safe working environment and that bystanders and the public are safe around the building sites.
Despite this duty of care to their employees, many employers fail to provide a safe working environment for their workers. This results in catastrophic incidents, including the loss of lives. If you have lost a loved one such as a spouse in a fatal construction accident, you have the right to investigate the cause of the incident to determine if their death was caused by the employer’s negligence or not. If the employer is liable, you can seek compensation.
Sources of compensation for accidents
In most cases, the families of the deceased are compensated by workers’ compensation death benefits, which pay for the expenses incurred by the family such as the funeral expenses. If your spouse was covered by the workers’ compensation, you can’t sue the employer directly for any negligence. However, this only protects your direct employer.
If the incident was caused by a third party who is not the employer or a fellow employee, you may seek compensation for wrongful death from the third party. In most cases, multiple organizations work on a single building project such as general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and property owners among others.
Thus, if your loved one was injured by someone who was working for another company at the time, you have every right to take legal action against the organization. Third parties that you can hold liable include the manufacturer of the defective equipment, vendors, or contractors who caused unsafe working conditions in the workplace.
However, in order to recover damages, your lawyer must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the death, the deceased could have pursued the case had they not succumbed to injuries, that there are people who were affected by the death, and there were damages that were incurred.
The fact is, there is no amount of money that can ever compensate for your loved one’s absence. Despite this fact, there are pecuniary losses such as huge medical bills, loss of income after the injury and before death, pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, psychological challenges, and other problems that your family has to deal with in addition to the grief you are going through. If you have lost a spouse in a building incident resulting in wrongful death, you should partner with an experienced attorney to recover damages from the negligent parties.