Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Construction Accident
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Have you lost a loved one to a work-related fatality? Though unfortunate, this devastating accident can happen at any time. Across California death rates within the construction industry have been alarmingly high in recent years.
Whether your loved one adhered to all the safety precautions, or their employers did everything possible to keep them safe and alive, it’s not a sure guarantee. Our legal team often finds that the construction company is sometimes to blame. In other cases, the company failed to carry out a proper risk assessment or act to mitigate the dangers.
Your loved one had a long life ahead. If it was cut prematurely short because the company cut corners and prioritized profit over human life, they should not be allowed to get away with it. You can file a wrongful death suit. The process begins with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles. Having legal help on your side will help get you and your family the compensation you deserve.
Death on the Job
A recent study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows that 18.5% of all deaths in the U.S. occur in the construction industry—that is more deaths than in any other industry. Falls, electrocutions, falling objects, and being caught in a machine or between moving objects account for the top four causes.
If your loved one was a construction worker that died on the job, it is important to get to the bottom of the accident and the cause of their death. To do so effectively, you will need the help of a Los Angeles attorney for wrongful death in construction. As a surviving family member, speaking to an attorney may be the furthest thing from your mind. Neither your lawyer nor the law can bring your loved one back. Grieving will be your priority in the weeks following the accident. However, it is right for you to honor the memory of your departed loved one by getting justice. It is worth taking a close look at the causes of the accident and the conditions of the workplace at the time your loved one was killed.
Survivor Rights and Actions
Do not let the construction company your loved one worked for shut you out. They owe you an honest and thorough explanation of what happened. And if they refuse to cooperate and be forthcoming, then you can get the facts on your own through your lawyer. If you are the surviving spouse, parent, or child of the departed, you will have legal standing to file a suit.
This can feel like a lengthy process. If you decide to file a wrongful death suit, you will need to prove that your loved one died because of the company’s negligence, that you suffered considerable losses as a result of the death, and that the defendant should compensate you. In other words, you are suing for the harm caused to you owing to the wrongful death of your loved one. The damage you can claim include:
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of love and emotional support
- Loss of financial support
You can also file a survivor claim. In this type of lawsuit, you must prove that:
- The worker died because of the defendant’s negligence
- That the accident caused pain and suffering to the worker before their death
- That had the worker survived, they would have been able to sue the defendant
- That the latter is still liable for the pain and suffering of the worker before they passed
The main idea behind a survivor lawsuit is that a person’s right to sue for harm done to them should not die with the person.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
Some states have laws that prevent injured workers from suing their employers. Instead, workers are compensated for injuries out of an insurance fund that the employer is required to pay into. In this instance, there is no need to establish negligence on the part of the company. The plaintiff will receive a standard amount of money—an amount that may be considerably less than what could be awarded in a standard lawsuit.
You need not be limited by such laws. You can file a wrongful death suit if you can show that the company’s conduct was intentionally reckless, that it rose to the level of gross negligence and almost criminal misconduct. Workers’ compensation laws are a remedy for workplace-related accidents. But most states have carved out exceptions for cases in which the defendant's carelessness, inattention, recklessness, and negligence are excessive.
Next Steps in A Wrongful Death Case
A workplace dispute lawyer will have the resources to investigate the accident thoroughly. They will send their team of private investigators to the scene of the accident to interview witnesses and gather facts that the company and other investigators may have overlooked. You never know whether someone who witnessed the accident was unwilling to speak before but will do so now.
The law firm will also bring in accident reconstruction experts. These professionals can gather the forensic evidence left at the scene and simulate how the accident unfolded. This can offer powerful visual evidence of how the accident took place and how it may have been avoided. Documents will be subpoenaed from the company and depose employees of it. They may discover emails, correspondence, and other official documents that may prove the company cut corners to save money and that these actions led to the death of your loved one.
Your dispute lawyer may also uncover proof of an attempt to cover up such decisions. They will try to settle with negligent defendants before the case goes to court. With enough evidence, they may be able to pressure the company into making an adequate settlement offer. No amount of investigation and negotiation can bring back your loved one. However, you can get justice for them. And you can take action to establish the material security of your family.