Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is extremely hard but losing them in a work-related incident can be devastating. That’s why you need a good Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your case. While no amount of money will bring back your loved one, you may be entitled to some compensation to ease the burden. Our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys have experience handling wrongful death cases. They have the knowledge to help you through this terrible situation. There are three different ways to receive compensation for your loved one’s work-related death. These include filing a wrongful death lawsuit, filing a serious and willful claim against your employer, or receiving workers’ compensation death benefits. Each path can be complicated and its best to reach out to a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney to help you through the legal process and decide which path is best for your family.

A family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit when a family member has died due to the fault or negligence of another person. To file a wrongful death lawsuit for a family member’s work-related death, something other than the employer must have caused the death. If you want to file a wrongful death claim outside of the workers’ compensation system, then you have to file it against a third party.

Manufacturers, for example, have an obligation to make sure their products are safe. But they failed to test their products, which resulted in someone’s death. If your loved one fell to his death because of defective safety railing, then the construction company or the safety railing’s manufacturer may be at fault.

In wrongful death lawsuits, families are able to seek economic and non-economic damages in relation to their loved one’s death. Economic damages typically include the amount of financial support and the loss of value of household services that the deceased relative would have provided.      

To receive non-economic damages, you also have to prove that your family suffered emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially because of your loved one’s death. That includes your pain and suffering, loss of the deceased’s income and earning capacity, development of mental health issues, and reduced quality of life. Proving non-economic damages can be difficult because there is no standard in which to prove them, which is why you’ll need the help of an expert.

While you are not able to sue your loved one’s employer, you may still be able to receive additional benefits if the death was caused by serious and willful misconduct by the employer or they violated a Cal/OSHA requirement. The penalty for serious and willful misconduct is generally an additional fifty percent of all the workers’ compensation benefits received by the injured employee and the penalty comes directly from the employer. 

Death benefits are awarded to family members of an employee who died due to a work-related injury. The amount of death benefits you can receive depends on if you qualify as a total or partial dependent and the amount of support that the family member provided you before their death. To be considered a total dependent, you must have relied on the deceased employee for support. Typically, total dependents are children of the deceased employee who are under the age of 18. A spouse can be considered a total dependent if, in the last year, they earned $30,000 or less.  

California workers’ compensation death benefits include up to $10,000 for burial expenses and up to $320,000 in compensation for dependents of the deceased worker. 

If there is one total dependent and one or more partial dependents, the total dependent will receive $250,000 and partial dependents will receive up to $25,000. If there are no total dependents but one or more partial dependents, the partial dependents will receive up to $250,000. The amount each partial dependent will receive depends on the amount of support the deceased employee provided them.   

There cannot be any partial dependents if there are two or more total dependents. The two total dependents will each receive $145,000. If there are three or more total dependents they will evenly split $320,000. 

What can you do? 

We understand that this process and losing a loved one is not easy. No matter what route you take to receive compensation for your family member’s death including filing a wrongful death lawsuit, filing a serious and willful claim against their employer, or receiving workers’ compensation death benefits, we are here to help. It can be complicated so its best to reach out to a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys. We will help you through every step of the legal and healing process and help decide which path is best for your family.