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Can I bring a wrongful death suit against an employer?

The process for seeking fair compensation when a person is injured on the job is relatively straightforward, and many people have at least a passing understanding of the workers' compensation claim process. But what happens if a person dies at work? Should the surviving family rely on workers' compensation death benefits or pursue a wrongful death suit?

In general, this depends on the nature of the death. Wrongful death claims imply that the deceased person lost his or her life due to someone else's negligence or malice. The worker's compensation system usually keeps employees from suing employers, but the rules may change when a fatality is involved.

In order to pursue a wrongful death suit against an employer, several standards must be met. First, the surviving family must prove that the decedent died because of the negligence or intentional actions of another person. Secondly, the surviving family must demonstrate that the death of their loved one harmed them monetarily, such as through lost income.

It is important to note that a wrongful death suit is an entirely separate legal matter from criminal charges. The surviving family must file their own lawsuit against an individual even if law enforcement charges them with a crime.

If you have lost someone you love in a workplace accident, you certainly deserve to have your losses examined by a skilled legal professional. Each case is different and must be approached on its own terms. With proper legal guidance by an attorney with years of experience, you can keep your rights secure as you pursue justice for the one you love.

Source: FindLaw, "Death at Work: Workers' Comp or Wrongful Death Claim?," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed April 07, 2017

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