Workers’ Compensation: Fatalities in the Workplace

Experienced Legal Representation for Families of Fatal Work Accident Victims in New Jersey

According to the latest data from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workplace fatalities are on the rise. Nearly 5,000 workers died on the job in 2014 (the latest data available), the most since 2008. That means that an average of 13 people were killed doing their job every day, often under circumstances that could – and should – have been avoided.

Consider these additional statistics from BLS:

  • Construction work is the United States’ most dangerous occupation by far. One of out every five work-related deaths occurs on a construction site.
  • Hispanic and Latino workers suffer fatal workplace injuries at grossly disproportionate rates. One out of every six workers who die on the job is Hispanic or Latino.
  • Workplace fatalities among employees ages 55 and older have skyrocketed in recent years. The total of 1,691 fatalities in 2014 represents the largest number ever by a margin of 8 percent.
  • Slips, trips, and falls claimed 818 workers’ lives in 2014.
  • Over 1,100 workers died in vehicle collisions in 2014, representing a five percent increase from 2013.

Death Benefits Under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation System

1. Dependents Who Are Eligible for Benefits

New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system provides no-fault benefits to the dependents of employees who suffer fatal illnesses and injuries on the job. The employee’s spouse and any children living in the employee’s home on the date of death are presumed to be dependents. Spouses and children who were not living with the deceased employee may be able to establish dependency as well as may parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and certain other family members.

2. Types of Death Benefits Available

Death benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system include: (i) 70 percent of the deceased employee’s weekly wage, not to exceed an annually established maximum benefit, and (ii) funeral expenses up to $3,500. When there are multiple surviving dependents, the 70 percent wage benefits are divided based upon the extent of each individual survivor’s dependency.

3. Fighting for Just Compensation After a Fatal Workplace Accident

While New Jersey law requires employers to pay these benefits regardless of the cause of an employee’s death (with only certain, very limited exceptions), most employers will not pay without a fight. As a result, to recover the full benefits to which you are legally entitled, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney.

Is Someone to Blame for Your Loved One’s Death?

Keep in mind also that you may be entitled to additional compensation if someone other than your loved one’s employer is responsible for his or her death. While workers’ compensation death benefits are limited, by filing a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover full financial compensation for the accident. When we review your case, we will seek to identify any and all responsible parties so that we can fight for justice on your and your loved one’s behalf.

Request a Free Consultation at Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C.

If you recently lost a spouse, parent, or another family member in a work-related accident, contact Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. to speak with one of our attorneys about your rights. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at (201) 928-0300 or request an appointment online now.