Work Injury Lawyers: Accidents & Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Serious injuries and fatalities can happen at work. These may be the result of negligence, inaction, or malpractice of an individual (or entity), and are excellent reasons to talk with a lawyer. Even when it may seem like the injury or death was unavoidable, there may be a person or corporation that is liable, and from whom you are entitled damages.
If you have been injured at your work, there are several important things you should consider before you make your workers’ comp or personal injury claim. Similarly, if you are a survivor of a person who has died on the job, filing a wrongful death claim could be the best option to pursue.
Workplace Injuries are Common
In 2017, nearly 3.5 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, had work-related injuries and illnesses that were reported by employers, with 2.8 million injuries and illnesses reported in private industry. About 31% of these workers missed work. The average amount of lost time was 8 days.
Workers’ Comp vs. Personal Injury Claims
Injuries related to slipping, tripping, and falling are typical, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The recovery process, depending on the injury, could be painful and long. Most people think that the only option in this situation is filing a workers’ compensation claim to pay medical bills and other expenses. Another option is also open to the injured party — filing a personal injury claim.
When you file for workers’ compensation, you are not claiming that the injury was caused by the employer, a coworker, or anyone else. You are only looking to recover the medical and other basic economic costs related to the injury. You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even when you think the injury was your fault in some way.
If you believe that the injury was caused by the negligence of another and you can prove it, a personal injury claim may be a better option. Unlike workers’ compensation, personal injury damages are compensatory and can include the loss, suffering, or harm experienced as a result of the injury.
The attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., have many years of experience helping people navigate the workers’ compensation insurance bureaucracy and making sure our clients get the settlement they deserve. Our law firm can also help you explore, understand, and pursue a personal injury claim if that is the better option.
Each year several thousand people in the United States die on the job. In the 2018 summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number was 5,250 — or an average of more than a dozen deaths each day.
Forty-one percent (2, 080) of the reported fatalities were transportation-related. Almost one-fifth (791) involved slips, trips, and falls. Other significant categories included homicides and suicides (848), exposure to harmful substances (621), and fire or explosion (115).
Making a Wrongful Death Claim
Has someone close to you died on the job? Do you believe that there may be negligence involved? As a survivor, you may choose to explore making a wrongful death claim.
In Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.2922, a wrongful death claim may be brought to court if it involves a death “caused by wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.”
Some people aren’t sure about what constitutes liability and hesitate to take legal action.
If you aren’t sure about what to do — and many people aren’t — it is important to talk it through with an attorney with solid experience in personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation.
Who Can File?
In Michigan, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file the wrongful death claim. This person must also notify all family members about the claim within 30 days of filing. Michigan law also specifies which family members can seek compensation and receive damages from wrongful death claims:
- spouse and children
- parents and grandparents
- brothers and sisters
- children of the deceased person’s spouse
- a person left property in the deceased person’s Will
Statute of Limitations
A wrongful death claim must be filed within 3 years of the date of death. If the case is not filed within this window, it may be barred from the court under the Michigan Statute of Limitations rule.
Criminal vs. Civil Litigation
It’s important to remember that filing a wrongful death claim is not a criminal case, but a civil lawsuit. In a criminal case, the state is the prosecutor and the penalties could include jail time, probation, or fines if the defendant is found guilty.
As a civil case, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the estate or family of the deceased individual, and liability is expressed as money, paid by the defendant if they are found liable.
Get the Help you Need
Our professional staff is ready to talk and meet with you in whatever setting makes the most sense, including your home. We’ll help you get the answers you need. Contact us toll-free today at 866-MICH-LAW or use our convenient online contact form.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.