Workplace accidents happen every day in North Carolina and throughout the entire country. Fortunately, the majority of workplace accidents that occur every year are not fatal, but there are still thousands of workers who are killed each year while on the job. When a worker is killed in a workplace accident, the individual’s family may be entitled to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, families may consider pursing a wrongful death lawsuit instead.
Almost three years ago, a 24-year-old man was killed in a workplace accident at a county landfill in North Carolina. The worker died after a truck ran him over. After the victim’s death, the victim’s mother filed a workers’ compensation claim and was awarded death benefits. However, the mother discovered that she could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit instead, and in 2011, she sued the truck driver who had killed her son and she also sued the county landfill for its negligence.
At first, the woman’s lawsuit was dismissed because it was argued that she could not sue the county landfill since her son was only a temporary employee. A couple of weeks ago, though, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal. Now, the mother has another chance to hold the truck driver and the county landfill accountable for her son’s tragic death. Her attorney stated that she is pursuing a wrongful death claim in order to make sure no other worker is killed in a similar truck accident at the landfill.
When a loved one is killed in a tragic accident that could have been avoided or prevented, families in North Carolina may understand that they may be able to file a wrongful death claim in order to recover some financial compensation and justice for their loss. However, this seemingly simple process may become complex very quickly when multiple parties are involved in a fatal accident. For this reason, families may consider working with an attorney when pursuing a wrongful death claim so that they can make sure all negligent parties are held accountable for their actions.
Source: Shelby Star, “Landfill death ruling reversed,” Jessica Pickens, Jan. 15, 2013