What Are My Options if a Family Member Was Killed in a Workplace Accident?

November 5, 2013

A 66-year-old golf course employee was killed recently while working at Cherry Wood Golf Course in Bell Township. Dennis Miller was mowing the 14th hole when something caused the tractor pulling the mower to tilt backward. Miller fell onto the blades on the rear of the mower and was pronounced dead at the scene. Immediately following the accident, it was unclear as to what caused the tractor to tilt backward, as that area of the course was not hilly.

We do not go to work expecting to be injured or put in danger, but accidents are sometimes inevitable. Having a loved one taken from you is one of the worst experiences to deal with in life. While nothing can replace that void created when a tragic death such as Miller’s happens, legal systems and government programs are set in place to provide financial relief to the remaining family members. If an employee was killed in a workplace accident, Pennsylvania law allows the surviving family members and dependents to collect workers’ compensation death benefits. The exact amount may depend on each person’s relationship with the decedent and how much they relied on the income, but death benefits usually compensate for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses of up to $3,000
  • A percentage of the decedent’s average weekly wage (AWW)
  • Additional benefits to each surviving minor child
  • Additional benefits possible to parents, adoptive relatives and other dependents

Death benefits to a remaining spouse continue until the spouse dies or remarries, in which case a lump sum is paid to resolve the remaining benefits. You may be able to file a third-party lawsuit if another person, company or entity’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death, which may be related to:

  • A defective part or machine
  • Improper training or faulty safety equipment
  • A work-related auto accident

If your loved one was taken from you in a workplace accident, contact experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys who also know how to pursue third-party claims, when necessary, to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.