Wrongful Death at Work: Know Your Rights
Every day workers across the country are injured while performing job duties. Unfortunately, some of these accidents result in a loss of life. When a loved one is a victim of wrongful death at work, surviving family members will likely suffer substantial financial losses, in addition to their emotional hardship.
Workers’ compensation insurance often offers death benefits to the deceased’s dependents. However, if the death was a result of reckless or negligent behavior, surviving loved ones may be due more financial compensation through a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death lawyer Michael E. Shelton can help individuals in the Houston, TX, area explore their right to financial compensation after a loved one’s wrongful death.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Suit?
When someone is killed at work, their family may not know if they have grounds to file a wrongful death suit. Typically, workers’ compensation insurance offers the deceased’s dependents a death benefit to cover medical and/or funeral expenses. However, depending on the circumstances of the death, loved ones may also be able to file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued if a worker’s death is the result of a third party’s reckless or negligent actions. For example, if the death is related to defective equipment or if the death was caused by the actions of someone other than the employer (such as a contractor or subcontractor) then a wrongful death lawsuit can likely be pursued.
Wrongful death lawyer Michael E. Shelton can meet with individuals in the Houston area to discuss the details of their loved one’s death and determine if they have a viable wrongful death claim.
Proving Wrongful Death
Once a wrongful death claim is filed there are two important factors that Michael E. Shelton must demonstrate to prove a claim for his Houston clients:
- The death was the result of another’s negligent actions
- Surviving family members suffered emotional and/or financial harm as a result of their loved one’s death
Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits, which means that plaintiffs must prove negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This burden is less strict than the burden in a criminal case, which requires guilt to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Essentially, a preponderance of evidence means that our legal team needs to show it is more likely than not that negligent actions were the cause of the worker’s death.
Wrongful Death Damages
Damages in a wrongful death case include financial losses related to the worker’s injuries and death, such as:
- Medical expenses (for any treatment provided before the death)
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits
What sets wrongful death damages apart from the death benefits that may be provided by workers’ compensation insurance is that, in a wrongful death suit, surviving loved ones can seek compensation for intangible losses. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (or companionship)
- Diminished quality of life
Contact Michael E. Shelton
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, wrongful death lawyer Michael E. Shelton can help you determine if you have grounds for a wrongful death claim. To discuss the details of your situation, contact us online or call (713) 807-0700 to schedule a consultation.