Nearly 160 Ohio workers died in on-the-job accidents during 2018, which is the last year for which complete data are available.
According to reports collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of these workplace fatalities result from car and truck crashes while people were operating company vehicles or traveling for work. “Contact with objects and equipment” and violence by coworkers or customers were, respectively, the second and third leading causes of deaths on the job. When you are in need of a workplace wrongful death attorney contact Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman Law in Columbus, Ohio today.
The BLS definition of contact with objects and equipment includes being smashed against a stationary object such as a machine housing, being hit by a flying object such as a nail from a nail gun, and being caught or crushed in the workings of a machine or a collapsing structure. Cave-ins of ditches and dropped tools or materials also fall into this category.
Exposures to harmful substances and falls, slips, and trips accounted for most of the other deaths at work.
Loss of life occurred across all professions and jobsites. Manufacturing, construction, and transportation posed more life-threatening dangers, but office workers and retail employees also died at work.
Regardless of where or how an employee’s death occurs, the victim’s family is usually left emotionally devastated and financially struggling. Ohio residents plunged into such a tragic reality have two options for seeking compensation. First, the state workers’ compensation program accepts applications for death benefits. Second, and in addition to a possible death claim, family members of a person who dies in a work-related accident can explore the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Bureau of Ohio Workers’ Compensation recognizes two types of claims for death benefits. The first is for on-the-job injuries or exposures that kill an employee “instantaneously”—meaning on the spot or within days of the accident. The other type of workers’ comp death benefit is paid when a person suffers for years from a work-related injury or occupational illness before dying due to complications of the injury or illness.
In both types of cases, tight statutes of limitations for filing claims are enforced. Grieving family members who fail to meet the applicable deadline cannot receive benefits or, except in rare instances, appeal the denial of benefits. Consulting with an experienced workplace death lawyer in Columbus will clarify when paperwork must be submitted and which forms must be completed.
Settling an initial workers’ comp claim will not make it impossible for a family to claim death benefits. The amount of the death benefits will be calculated based in part on to how much financial support the deceased worker provided to their family.
Ohio law makes it practically impossible for a family member to sue their loved one’s employer following a fatal workplace accident. The employer could only potentially have liability if evidence existed to show that managers or coworkers acted with extreme recklessness or with malice and intent to seriously harm the victim.
On the other hand, grounds for filing a wrongful death claim against the maker of a faulty tool or machine may exist. Similarly, a driver who causes a deadly crash can be held liable for colliding with a work vehicle. Such legal actions are called third-party lawsuits, and they are settled by an insurance company or go to trial like any other kind of wrongful death case.
Succeeding with a workplace wrongful death claim requires showing that negligence by a company other than the victim’s employer or by a person who was not a coworker caused the accident. Monetary damages that can be recovered include compensation for
Applying for and receiving workers’ comp death benefits will not prevent family members from succeeding with a workplace wrongful death lawsuit.
Several Agee Clymer workplace wrongful death lawyers have experience helping families who have lost loved ones to work-related accidents and occupational illnesses. We know how to navigate the workers’ comp process, and we have a strong track record of holding third parties accountable.
Please contact our office to make an appointment and speak with a knowledgeable Columbus workplace accidents attorney about your options. You can schedule a free consultation online from anywhere in the state. We also welcome phone calls to (614) 221-3318.