Like other states in the country, California has a workers’ compensation system. What this means for family members trying to recover from the loss of their loved one after a fatal workplace accident in Los Angeles County is that they can hope for some help via workers’ compensation.
Specifically, after a fatal accident, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should pick up all or at least part of the tab for final medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. While this will offer some assistance to a family that has lost a breadwinner, workers’ compensation many times does not cover all expenses and does not pay for the emotional trauma of losing a loved one at all.
While the trade off for getting workers’ compensation is that the family cannot usually sue the victim’s employer, even if the employer was in a position to prevent the accident, a family can sue other businesses and individuals responsible for the accident.
This is the concept of third-party liability, and it basically means that while an employer absolves itself of further responsibility for an accident by paying workers’ compensation, the rest of those who are responsible for a fatal workplace injury may be held accountable for their negligence.
For example, if a passing motorist strikes and kills a construction worker, the family can sue that motorist, usually for more than what they would be allowed under workers’ compensation. While this concept will not allow a family to double dip by claiming compensation for a death twice, it does help families get all of the compensation that they both need and deserve.