When people think of workers’ compensation, they typically think in terms of an employee being injured on the job and missing work. However, some work-related accidents are fatal, and surviving family members will be required to file a workers’ compensation claim seeking death benefits to cover medical bills related to employee’s fatal injury or illness, lost wages, and funeral expenses under state workers’ compensation regulations.
According to a recent article from ABC News 13, a tribal transportation worker was killed in an on-the-job car accident in Cherokee, North Carolina. The accident occurred between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
One witness said she was getting ready for work around that time when she heard a loud crash. She did not know what happened until she was driving to work and saw police had blocked the road ahead of her. All she could see was a truck in the grassy area alongside the travel lane. She later learned her daughter’s boyfriend had witnessed the fatal work-related accident and rushed to assist victim. The boyfriend found the injured employee and stayed with him, talking to him until paramedics arrived. He said the victim’s head was essentially in his lap till help arrived.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of this tragic on-the-job accident but have released a statement saying victim was an employee for the Tribal Department of Transportation driving an agency truck when he collided with an SUV traveling in the opposite direction. One of victim’s coworkers said she believes victim was driving straight, and the driver of the SUV allegedly crossed over the double yellow center line of the roadway and crashed into victim’s truck.
When first responders arrived, they attempted to provide medical attention to injured worker, but unfortunately there was nothing they could do, and he was pronounced dead. Another employee of Tribal Department of Transportation who was riding in the truck with victim was also injured, but his injuries were much less severe, and he was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries and was also taken to a hospital for treatment.
While it may be possible for family members of employees who were killed in a car accident while on the job to file a civil car accident lawsuit against a negligent third party driver, the first course of action will be to speak with a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney to discuss fling a claim. This should be done as quickly as possible, because in addition to the family’s need for money, there is a time limit on when workers’ compensation claims can be filed.
In cases of a fatality, the family will be filing a claim for death benefits. A death benefits award can include financial recovery for medical expenses, funeral bills, and lost wages. Lost wages include the money employee would have earned and provided for his or her family had a fatal accident not occurred. However, workers’ compensation insurance companies will often try to value lost wages at much less than they are actually worth, and you want to make sure you have an experienced attorney fighting on your side to help you attain a full and appropriate financial recovery.
If you have been injured at work in North Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Cherokee Transportation Worker Killed in Head-On Wreck , April 14 2015, ABC News 13
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Bike v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care – Workers’ Comp Benefits in Spite of Underlying Injury, March 28, 2015, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog