No matter how stressful or demanding some jobs may be, few if any people leave their homes in the morning not expecting to return ever again. A death on the job, while not uncommon, is something that happens infrequently and most people assume that the odds are in their favor, no matter how dangerous one’s occupation may be.
As experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation claims attorneys, the lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the risks that many employees face on a daily basis here in the Garden State. Sadly, there are instance where an on-the-job accident turns into a fatality. When a work-related death occurs, the victim’s family members can be the ones who suffer most.
Fortunately for survivors, workers’ comp insurance pays death benefits to spouses and dependent children regardless of who was at fault. Our workers’ compensation specialist, Daniel Santarsiero, Esq., has a great deal of experience in handling death benefit claims for widows, widowers and dependent children follow a fatal warehouse accident.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of a fatal on-the-job accident, Mr. Santarsiero can be reached at our law offices by dialing (800) 999-0897. He can answer your questions about workers’ comp death benefits, survivor claims and third-party lawsuits. If you would like to discuss your case in detail, we can arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.
To understand how workers’ compensation insurance works it is important to know that it is a kind of “no fault” workplace accident coverage that provides monetary compensation for injuries sustained on the job; workers’ comp also provides death benefits in the event of a fatal on-the-job accident. Workers’ compensation is mandatory employer-paid insurance that covers workers, including those individuals employed in materials handling jobs at warehouses, manufacturing plants, commercial businesses or large big-box retail stores such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Sam’s Club and Costco.
Many thousands of employees work in commercial and retail warehousing facilities, where they may face multiple threats to their health and safety. Of particular concern are the potential injuries and deaths that can result from fallen objects, as well as the risk of being struck or run over by one of many forklifts, hi-lows, and industrial trucks operating in these kinds of working environments.
Our consumer-driven society is very dependent on heavy machinery and industrial equipment to produce the goods and merchandise we use while at the same time reducing individual effort and improving efficiency in all aspects of manufacturing and retail sales. Although these machines make certain jobs easier and reduce lifting injuries, the dangers of working in close proximity to a forklift, hi-lo or industrial truck exists in many work environments, from warehouses, manufacturing plants and lumber mills to rail yards, maritime ports and shipping facilities.
Every employer should be well aware of the potential risks associated with forklift operation. Yet, many businesses fail to take the appropriate precautions and safety measures to protect life and limb. Even when safety standards are followed, the possibility of a faulty part or improperly manufactured component can make the use of a defective forklift an accident waiting to happen.Workers’ Compensation Survivor Claims Law Firm
Across the country every year, forklifts and industrial trucks are associated with thousands of serious injuries, as well as many dozens of otherwise preventable workplace deaths. On average, according to U.S. government safety inspectors, approximately 100 workers die each year in forklift-related accidents, while nearly 20,000 people are seriously injured.
Of these incidents, about one-quarter of all forklift-related fatalities involve the machine rolling over onto the victim. Considering the potential danger of serious or fatal injury, it is surprising that many workers are simply unaware of the possibly serious injuries that can result from such incidents.
If you have lost a loved one due to a forklift, hi-low or industrial truck accident, the legal team at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assist you and your family file for survival claim as provided for by workers’ compensation insurance. When a death is involved, the survivors are often left with bills and reduced household income. There is no reason for you to suffer financially in the wake of the tragic loss of a spouse or parent who has died while doing his or her job.
Just like any piece of heavy equipment, forklifts and powered industrial trucks must be operated properly in order to avoid injury or death. Studies by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that more than one-half million forklift accidents occur annually across the U.S. The following is a brief list of some of the types of accidents that involve forklifts in the workplace:
- Run over or backed over
- Struck by material falling from forklift
- Broken leg or ankle from impact by forklift
- Crushed by a forklift tipping over
- Falling from the machine
Preventing forklift and powered industrial truck accidents is a primary goal. Carrying too much weight or operating with obstructed vision are two of the more common reasons for many forklift-related deaths. While employers cannot be sued as a condition of workers’ compensation insurance, if a product defective is suspected as a contributing cause of the accident, a third-party lawsuit may be another way for survivors to recover additional damages.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides safety tips for proper forklift use and operation; the following is a partial list:
- Do not drive a forklift without proper training or licensing
- Use a seatbelt if so equipped
- Report any damage or problems with the machine
- Never jump from an overturning, sit-down type forklift
- Use extreme caution on grades/ramps
- Do not raise or lower the forks while the machine is moving
- Do not overload or exceed the machine’s weight capacity
- Drive only at speeds that will permit you to stop safely
- Slow down/sound horn at aisle intersections, especially when vision is limited
- Before dismounting from the forklift, set parking brake/lower forks/neutralize controls
- Never use a forklift to elevate workers by means of the forks
If you have lost a loved one due to a warehouse-related accident involving a forklift or other materials handling device, we urge you to contact a qualified workers’ compensation claims lawyer to better understand your situation. OSHA regulations require every employer to properly maintain these machines, including servicing the braking and steering systems, other control mechanisms, lift overload devices and other safety-related items.
As a survivor, you may be entitled to death benefits following your loved one’s fatal on-the-job accident, if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Surviving spouse
- Civil union partner
- Natural children (up to 18 years old; 23 years for full-time students)
- Parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.
Those who claim death benefits must prove actual dependency at the time of the worker’s death. Physically or mentally handicapped dependent children may also qualify for additional benefits under the law. New Jersey Workers’ Compensation rules also require the victim’s employer or that employer’s insurance carrier to pay a maximum of $3,500 for funeral expenses for any worker who dies in a job-related accident.
If another individual or company, other than the victim’s employer, is suspected of being at fault in a workplace-related death, the lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the skills and training to pursue a third-party wrongful death lawsuit to help recover additional damages for the survivors. Please call our legal offices at (800) 999-0897 to request a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our legal staff has many years of experience representing victims’ families following fatal on-the-job accidents. We have the know-how to guide you and your family through the workers’ compensation death benefit claims process for individuals killed on the job at companies located in Hudson, Essex, Camden, Union and Monmouth counties, and all across the rest of the Garden State. We are prepared to lend assistance so that you and your family can recover the benefits due you under the law.