Fall Hazards: An Unfortunate Event

Worker of Construction

A terrible tragedy took place in Winters, California on May 30. A recent article from the Sacramento Bee details the tragic death of two construction workers who were working on a bridge construction site. The crane-hoisted basket broke apart, and the construction workers fell more than 80 feet. They fell onto timbers that were covering a 30-foot hole the workers had dug for the installation of the new Winters Putah Creek Car Bridge. The accident that occurred typifies the dangerous, risky work that construction workers often do. They were doing work that construction workers often perform, but when a person is in machinery high off the ground, tragic incidents such as this event can occur. Investigators from Cal-OSHA, Winters police, Yolo County Sheriff’s Office and Yolo County coroner’s officials are still attempting to discern what led to the unfortunate accident, and their findings may dictate what type of relief the loved ones of these workers may be able to access.

How does workers’ compensation function?

Workers’ compensation issues are still present in this matter, despite the fact that these construction workers died while fulfilling work duties. In general, workers’ compensation attempts to provide payment benefits for workers while they are recovering from injuries. When that occurs, California law provides that workers receive ⅔ of their average weekly salary, although there are limitations based on salary. You can receive more information concerning the salary that an injured worker should receive on the state of California’s Department of Industrial Relations website. Another type of benefit available for California workers is payment for when a worker is permanently disabled and unable to continue his or her previous occupation. Since the workers died during this unfortunate tragedy, the weekly salary provision is not applicable. Instead, the death benefits, which also include salary provisions, would go toward providing for any spouse, children, or other dependents. In California, death benefits provide for burial expenses and provide for children until they reach the age of majority.

What is wrongful death?

The investigation of the construction accident is also important because it may dictate another possible claim that the construction workers may have towards a third party. For example, if the investigators determine that the accident was caused by a mistake that one of the constructor workers made, it would make it more difficult to win a wrongful death suit. Generally, in a wrongful death suit, the party must show that negligent or reckless behavior of the party they are suing resulted in the death of a loved one. Typically, a family member or heir of the deceased brings forward a wrongful death suit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, family members may sue for compensation concerning medical and funeral bills, the loss of financial support, and the emotional pain and suffering that the death caused.

If you or a loved one is involved in a construction accident, your first step should be to contact the Appel Law Firm LLP. We have a great record on matters concerning construction accidents and can assist you today.

Photo Credit: gregor_y via Compfight cc

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