Know your legal options for compensation when a loved one dies

| Mar 5, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Every day across the state of Pennsylvania, people receive the shocking news that their loved one has died either in a workplace accident or a motor vehicle crash. It is natural to experience shock, denial and profound grief in the immediate aftermath of such news.

Beyond the emotional and social consequences of your unexpected loss, there will be verifiable financial impacts for the untimely death of your loved one. While it may initially seem crass to worry about finances while grieving the loss of a family member, the truth is that you only have a certain window of opportunity to take action and protect your family.

Understanding your rights given the circumstances of your loved one’s death can help you determine the best way forward for your family.

Those who lose a loved one on the job can receive workers’ compensation

When most people think of workers’ compensation, they think about short- and long-term disability benefits or the medical coverage that allows an injured worker to get the care they need to get back on the job. However, workers’ compensation also protects the loved ones and dependents of those who die in a workplace accident.

Workers’ compensation benefits can include up to $3,000 for the cost of a funeral service and burial, as well as a portion of the deceased worker’s wages paid to their immediate family members, not unlike disability benefits. In the event that the death was the result of negligence or a wrongful act on the part of the employer of your loved one, you may also have the same rights as those who lose a loved one due to a traffic collision.

Certain circumstances can give rise to wrongful death claims

Many car crashes would be preventable if everyone on the road engaged in best practices for their safety and the safety of others. If the incident that claimed the life of your loved one stemmed from either the negligence or wrongful acts of another party, you can. Theoretically, bring a wrongful death claim against the person or business responsible for the incident.

In a wrongful death claim, which is a kind of personal injury action, you can seek compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering on the part of the deceased, and other significant losses related to the negligence, inaction or improper actions of another party.

Both workers’ compensation claims and wrongful death actions must occur in a timely manner, as statutes of limitation generally apply in these cases. The sooner you take action, the greater the potential protection for you and the other dependents affected by this tragic loss.

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