Wrongful Death at Work
A longtime General Electric employee died a few weeks ago from workplace injuries in Louisville, Kentucky. Steve Herring was working on the refrigeration door line, when he was injured from “a metal fixture that holds foam insulation”. He was taken to the hospital, where he would later die from those injuries. General Electric released a statement:
“…On Sunday, Feb. 17, our employee passed away. He was a valued team member with 24 years of service who was extremely well-liked and respected by his colleagues. We are grieving his loss and are working with his family to provide assistance during this difficult time.”
The assistance that General Electric is referring to is worker’s compensation, also known as worker’s comp. This is a type of insurance that many companies have for situations just like this one. It provides financial compensation to workers, or their families, of those injured, disabled, or killed on the job.
Worker’s comp is a “no-fault” insurance. This means that it doesn’t matter whose fault it was for the accident, you can still bring a claim. In exchange, you withdraw your right to sue the company directly for the injury. An attorney can become involved when the worker’s comp does not cover all of the medical treatment, lost wages, other monetary damages, or if the company doesn’t have worker’s compensation at all.
Possible Compensation From Third Parties
Many are familiar with this process of obtaining compensation, but are unaware there could be additional avenues for recovery. In this instance of wrongful death, it is possible for more than just the company to be at fault. Was the injury caused by how the product was designed? Or, was there a flaw in the manufacturing of this fixture? Was it installed and maintained correctly before this incident? Was Mr. Herring’s injury caused by the negligence of a co-employee? Fault or liability is not always straight forward, an investigation should be done to see what third parties can be held responsible.
Workplace injuries, and deaths especially, are serious matters. Steve’s family fondly describes him as “the life of the party”, and “a good person, always there for everybody”. As GE describes in their statement, he was well-liked and respected by his colleagues. Providing adequate compensation for a wrongful death can be impossible. A wrongful death attorney could help protect the family’s rights.