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Industrial Accidents

Workers’ Comp Benefits Recovery

Few life events are as unsettling as the tragic death of a loved one following an unexpected workplace accident. Although these unforeseen fatal events may happen infrequently, when a job-related incident does take the life of a worker, the impact of that loss can be felt for months and years, sometimes for a lifetime, by members of the deceased worker’s family.

White collar employees and other individuals whose jobs are in relatively low-risk office environments throughout the Garden State have much less to worry about than the typical shift worker at a factory or assembly plant, tradesman working on a construction site, or union worker employed at a New Jersey port or rail yard. Industrial accidents, fatal and otherwise, take place daily throughout the U.S. and each of these events befall not just workers and employees, but husbands and wives, fathers, mothers and even grandparents.

Fatal Injuries Resulting From a Industrial Accident

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C., close to 5,000 employees die each year while working on the job. On average, that’s more than 13 work-related fatalities each day; and more than 90 lives lost every week of the year.

Industrial accidents are some of the more deadly types of mishaps that occur both in factory settings and on construction worksites. Hourly and salaried workers are represented in the death statistics, as are contract employees, who make up nearly two-fifths of the fatalities attributable to deadly industrial accidents.

Of the total number of annual fatalities that occur in the workplace, approximately 20 percent happen to those individuals employed in the construction industry. Not counting work-related driving fatalities, the following are the top four causes of accidental workplace deaths in the construction industry, which altogether account for nearly two-thirds of all construction-related fatalities on an annual basis:

  • Tripping and slip-and-falls (approx. 39 percent)
  • Electrocutions (approx. 8 percent)
  • Being struck by an object (approx. 8 percent)
  • Caught in machinery or crushed by a large object (approx. 4 percent)

One of the more tragic aspects of fatal industrial accidents is that many incidents could possibly have been avoided had the proper safety procedures and/or equipment been employed per the government’s workplace safety guidelines provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The following list enumerates the top 10 OSHA standards that were violated in 2015:

  • Fall protection on construction sites (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.501)
  • Communication of workplace hazards (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.1200
  • Scaffolding on construction sites (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.451)
  • Respiratory protection (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Control (lock-out/tag-out) of hazardous energy (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.147)
  • Powered industrial truck operation (forklifts, “hi-lows,” materials handling equipment) (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.178)
  • Ladder usage on construction sites (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.1053)
  • Electrical wiring methods; component/equipment safety (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.305)
  • Machinery operation/machine safety guard usage (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.212)
  • Electrical systems design and general safety requirements (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.303)

Fortunately, all employers in New Jersey must, by law, carry workers’ compensation insurance or be approved for self-insurance (exceptions include companies that are covered by federal programs). Workers’ comp, as it is often referred to, is a kind of “no fault” insurance program, which provides benefits regardless of who caused the injury or fatal accident.

If your family has lost a loved one as a result of a fatal industrial accident, it is important to understand that the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act provides a means of recovering death benefits payable to the deceased’s family.

When an individual is killed in a work-related factory, construction or other industrial accident — including occupational-related diseases — death claim benefits are triggered so long as the victim’s death was related to his or her employment. This recovery is in addition to that which may be pursued through a negligent third-party wrongful death lawsuit.

Workers’ Comp Attorneys

Understanding your right to receive workers’ compensation death benefits is very important for any surviving dependents who have lost a loved one to a tragic workplace-related accident. Our death benefit claims experts at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the legal training and litigation experience to assist in Survival Claim cases.

Our legal team can assist surviving spouses, children and other dependents understand and recover benefits due them under New Jersey law. Survivors are also entitled to recovery of other related costs, such as funeral/burial charges and medical expenses incurred prior to the victim’s death, as well as recovery of lost income.

Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can be instrumental in helping surviving spouses and dependent children recover the death benefits due them through the state of New Jersey, as well as county governments such as those in Monmouth, Middlesex, Union, Mercer, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic and Morris.

If you have lost a family member due to an industrial accident or occupational exposure to hazardous or cancer-causing agents, please contact Mr. Santarsiero at (800) 999-0897 for a free consultation.

If you choose to retain our law firm following your free initial consultation, we will represent you and your family on a contingent fee basis — no legal fees will be charged unless we make a recovery on your behalf. As lawyers in the field of work-related death benefit claims, we can guide you through the process to help you and your family receive the compensation you are entitled to under the laws of the State of New Jersey. We are here to help.