The untimely death of a loved one is, emotionally devastating and can also be financially disastrous where the deceased was a provider. Where the fatality occurred as the result of work-related injury or disease, wrongful death benefits are available through workers’ compensation. The compassionate and understanding attorneys at Goldschmid, Silver & Spindel in Los Angeles can be your strong advocates throughout the process of securing this valuable economic assistance.
Claims against an employer for the wrongful death of an employee must be pursued under California workers’ compensation law, which bars the filing of a suit in civil court. This means that survivors of employees who died of catastrophic injuries on the job can recover only economic damages, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of future income and loss of household services. They may not claim for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship and loss of sexual relations.
However, if someone besides the employer is fully or partly responsible for an on-the-job fatality, family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against that party and seek the full range of damages. Examples of liable third parties are contractors, subcontractors, building owners, landowners, equipment designers and manufacturers, machine operators, vendors and vehicle owners and operators.
Our attorneys investigate all potentially responsible third parties and counsel our clients on the prospects of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in court. This can be done at the same time as wrongful death benefits are pursued through workers’ compensation.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for wrongful death benefits does not require a showing that the employer was negligent. Death benefits are about two-thirds of the victim’s wages, and the total award is capped at $320,000.
However, the victim’s family should never try to negotiate with the employer or its insurance company — nor should sign anything —before speaking to a lawyer. Many factors impact the final award and the final negotiated amount is nearly always more than the company’s initial offer. You need a skilled advocate who has your best interests in mind when fighting for appropriate compensation.
Household members or the employee’s close relatives may be eligible for workers’ comp death benefits if they were totally or partially dependent on the deceased employee for financial support at the time of the injury. Potential qualifying relatives are:
If you do qualify to claim wrongful death benefits, you must notify the employer within 30 days of the injury or death and the workers’ comp claim must be filed within one year after that.
The experienced, compassionate attorneys at Goldschmid, Silver & Spindel will fight relentlessly for the compensation you and your family deserve. We charge no up-front legal fees. To learn more, schedule a free consultation by calling 213-251-5900 or by contacting our Los Angeles office online.