Who Can Seek Damages after a Wrongful Death at Work? By Sean Burke on February 14, 2021

cranes at a construction siteWhen a wrongful death occurs in the workplace, it can have a devastating impact on surviving family members both emotionally and financially. A wrongful death lawyer is essential for grieving families to obtain the financial compensation they deserve for the untimely and preventable loss of their loved one.  

At Burke Argos, attorneys Sean Burke and Jason Argos help families who have lost a loved one in a wrongful death at work in and around Irvine, CA, recover compensation for the emotional pain and financial burden losing a loved one can bring. To find out if pursuing a wrongful death claim is the right course of action for you or your family, contact the attorneys of Burke Argos today.  

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death refers to a death caused by the negligence or misconduct of a person or entity. In the workplace, the negligent act may be a result of the employer not following safety standards, a fellow employee cutting corners, or someone purposefully doing wrong. 

Although negligence or misconduct are requirements of a wrongful death, the responsible party may not have meant to cause harm or cause someone to die. 

Wrongful Death in the Workplace

Some occupations carry an increased risk of workplace accidents that can sadly result in death. Construction workers, firefighters, police officers, and factory workers, are just some of the professions where accidents are more likely to have fatal consequences. 

When a workplace accident and resulting death is caused by another party’s negligence or misdeeds, it may be considered wrongful death. To better understand what might constitute wrongful death, let’s consider the following workplace accidents: 

  • Defective or poorly maintained equipment: Defective or poorly maintained equipment can lead to fatalities on a construction site, a factory, or any occupation where machinery, including company vehicles, are used. When machinery or vehicles don’t work properly, employees are at risk of injury or even death. 
  • Insufficient training: If employees are poorly trained in the operation of workplace equipment, it can lead to severe or fatal injuries to themselves or others. 
  • Vehicle crashes: Those who are required to drive while on the job may suffer a wrongful death in a car crash if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, manufacture defects, or a poorly maintained company vehicle.  
  • Lack of proper safety equipment: If employees are not provided proper safety equipment, like harnesses to prevent falls from scaffolding on construction sites, and subsequently suffer from workplace injuries that lead to death, there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Surviving Family Members May Seek Damages 

When a wrongful death has occurred, it may be possible for surviving family members to recover compensation for damages incurred as a result of the death. 

Surviving family members seeking damages must show that the wrongful death has caused them, not the decedent, financial and emotional harm. It also must be shown that the death was caused by another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct. 

Which Family Members Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Not all family members of someone who died in a wrongful death accident are eligible to file a lawsuit. The family members who can file a wrongful death claim in Irvine and the entire state of California follows a hierarchy. 

The surviving spouse or domestic partner is given priority in filing a suit. Next, children may file suit if a wrongful death suit has not been filed by the spouse, followed by grandchildren. The parents of the decedent may file a wrongful death lawsuit if the decedent has no spouse, children, or grandchildren. 

Learn More about Your Legal Options

If you live in or around Irvine and believe your loved one’s death was a preventable wrongful death, it’s important to understand your legal options in pursuing damages for your family’s pain and suffering. Call the attorneys of Burke Argos at (949) 644-3434 to schedule your consultation

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