While everyone needs to work so that they can pay their bills and obligations, people expect a safe working environment where they do not have to risk life or limb. Many employers do take a number of preventative actions to protect their workers. While there are many reasons employers may take preventative steps they can include a sense of duty, reduction of costs, reduction of work disruptions, or because the law requires it.
However, it is an unfortunate fact of life that workplace injuries and workplace deaths do occur. Sometimes the accident may be due to insufficient safety protocols or equipment. In other instances, cost-cutting and time pressures may lead to injury. Still in other cases, the worker may contribute to his or her own death.
In short, there are a myriad of reasons why workplace deaths occur. However, if the unthinkable has occurred and your loved one has been killed at work, the attorneys of Reiff & Bily may be able to obtain compensation for your loss.
Is There a Time Limit on my Claim?
Most states and most causes of action have a time limit on when they must be filed by. This is known as a statute of limitation. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitation for wrongful death actions is two years. What that means is if your loved one has been killed at work, you must file your claim within two years of his or her death. If you fail to do so your claim will be barred and you will be unable to hold the responsible party accountable.
What Types of Damages are Available?
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act allows certain closely-related family members to recover monetary damages for the wrongful death of their loved one. As defined by 42 Pa. C.S. 8301(b) the deceased party’s family may file a claim for medical expenses, lost wages, lost contributions to the household, funeral expenses, estate expenses and more. Because grief and emotional damages can be difficult to quantify, an experienced wrongful death attorney can often be integral in helping the jury, judge and other parties gain a full understanding of the loss.
Why Do Deaths Occur in the Workplace?
According to statistics compiled and provided by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 4,628 workers were killed while working in 2012. That averages to 89 worker deaths each week or 12 each day. Of those worker deaths, OSHA reports that nearly 1 in 5 were in the construction industry. Falls made up a plurality of injuries at 34.6-percent. All other causes of construction deaths were measured at less than 10-percent including:
- Struck by an object at 9.8-percent
- Electrocuted at 8.1-percent
- Caught in or trapped at 1.6-percent
OSHA has termed these four areas as the “Fatal Four” and notes that eliminating these causes of injuries would save 437 lives each year.
Put our Wrongful Death Experience to Work for You
If you have recently lost a loved one, you undoubtedly have quite a lot on your mind — that is perfectly understandable and a normal part of the grieving process. However, do not put off consulting with an experienced lawyer. We understand that recounting the events and circumstances may be painful, but it is a necessary step in seeking justice and compensation. To schedule your free and confidential wrongful death consultation, call Reiff & Bily at (215) 274-0072 or contact us online today.