For anyone who has lost a spouse in a workplace accident, dealing with the grief and emotional toll of the loss is always the first priority. Another that’s very important, however, is accounting for the well-being of children, paying for mortgages and other major expenses, and maintaining general quality of life despite this tragic event.
At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to help. Our attorneys are skilled in wrongful death litigation and settlements, helping you recover compensation that you and your family are due and allowing you to grieve properly.
In some cases, our clients are under the impression that due to worker’s compensation laws, wrongful death suits can never be filed with regard to workplace accidents. And while it’s true that civil actions against employers directly are blocked through these laws, this does not mean there are no actions potentially available to you here. Let’s go over the possibility for damages to be filed against a third party, plus what you might be able to recover here.
Wrongful Death and Third Party
In many cases, the actual death of your spouse or loved one in the workplace was not caused by the employer themselves. Some other potential causes or liable parties may include:
- Manufacturers of dangerous or defective machines or pieces of equipment that led to the accident.
- Owners of property where the accident occurred failing to remove a hazardous condition that caused the accident.
- A third-party contractor or employee from another company who is on the premises and causes the accident.
- Any other third party who, through negligence, caused the accident in question.
In these cases, you are absolutely within your rights to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While the employer in particular is exempt from this due to worker’s compensation laws, these third parties are not protected by these laws in any way.
The general purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to provide the spouse or other surviving family members with compensation for several things. These include lost wages, funeral an burial expenses, and others – in addition, the state of Utah also includes pain and suffering endured by family members, as well as loss of care and companionship, as potential damages. Finally, you may even be entitled to punitive damages in Utah if it’s determined that significant, avoidable negligence was practiced by a third party responsible for the accident.
In most cases, however, the majority of damages will focus on compensation for economic losses. Punitive damages will only be used for cases where intentional or reckless behavior was involved in the death – the point is to send a message that the court system will react harshly to this behavior, to help deter it in the future.
For more on filing a wrongful death suit for a workplace accident, or to learn about any of our personal injury or wrongful death attorney services, contact the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.