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What can a family do if someone is killed on the job?

It's a tragedy when any kind of accident happens on the job, let alone one that causes the death of a worker. In that situation, coworkers, employers, family members and others may all be affected.

After the death of a worker, it's the responsibility of an employer to make sure he or she prevents further incidents from occurring and then to deal with the incident that already occurred. Safety has to come first, and those who suffered losses must be treated fairly.

Employers have a responsibility to carry workers' compensation insurance to protect workers and their dependents. California requires most employers to carry this insurance.

On top of covering medical expenses, workers' compensation offers death benefits to surviving family members. Families may be able to receive compensation for the monetary losses associated with the death of their loved one including funeral costs, lost wages and other expenses.

In the majority of cases, workers aren't able to sue their employers for injuries they've suffered on the job. However, if a workers is killed on the job, their family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. This claim is one way to obtain compensation if negligence or misconduct led to a loved one's death.

When you talk to the employer about the incident, know that you have a right to know about workers' compensation and your potential right to sue. You should receive all information about the incident along with a police report. This can help you when you file your claim. If you have to go to court, those documents can strengthen your wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney can help you decide which route would best serve your needs.

Source: Talent Management and HR, "What to do When A Worker Dies On The Job," Branigan Robertson, Sean Reis, accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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