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Workers' compensation or a wrongful death claim: The differences

Losing a loved one is difficult no matter when it happens, but if it's a result of an injury that takes place at work, then you could be in a situation where you need to file a workers' compensation claim for death benefits. Is that all you can do, though? Or, will you need to file a wrongful death claim instead?

In most situations, employees are unable to sue their employers for injuries that take place at work. This is because they are covered by workers' compensation. If the injury happens due to no misconduct or negligence and is a result of an accident or personal error, then workers' compensation is usually how you'll reach out for compensation.

If the death of a worker is a result of misconduct or negligence, then the worker's family may be able to file a wrongful death claim, though. To be successful in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, your family will need to show that a person was killed because of another person's negligence and that you've suffered monetary injuries as a result.

In most cases, you'll be able to show this easily, as you can show you have lost the wages from your loved one's job as well as showing results from investigations into the death itself. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate workplace injuries leading to death, so you can use the results of the investigation for your case. If those results clearly show that negligence or misconduct played a role in the death of your loved one, you'll be more likely to succeed in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Death at Work: Workers' Comp or Wrongful Death Claim?," accessed June 24, 2016

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