Yes, you can sue for wrongful death after a construction site accident, but your remedies will depend on whether your case falls under workers’ compensation or tort law.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
The employer must pay the statutory workers’ compensation death benefits if your loved one died from an injury on the job. The elements required for workers’ compensation death benefits include:
- An injury
- That is accidental
- That happened because of work performed
- In the course and scope of the employment, and
- The injury caused the death within one year of the accident or
- The injury caused the death within five years of the accident during which time the decedent experienced continuous disability from the injury.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
A successful workers’ compensation death benefits claimant can receive compensation, depending on the claimant’s relationship to the deceased. The employer must pay funeral expenses, up to $7,500. In addition to the funeral expenses, the employer must pay up to $150,000 in compensation to the survivors.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Construction Site Accidents
If your case does not fall under workers’ compensation coverage, you might be able to sue the wrongdoer in civil court. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act allows surviving loved ones to seek damages for their losses.
There is a right of action if the deceased would have had a right to sue the wrongdoer if he had survived that accident. Also, Florida’s statutes allow these suits when the death results from someone’s:
- Wrongful act
- Breach of contract
- Breach of warranty
- Intentional act that was a felony
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In Florida, the decedent’s personal representative files the wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation recovered through the action will go to the survivors and the estate. The court’s verdict will state how much money goes to each specific survivor and how much the estate receives.
Damages for Wrongful Death
Florida law allows survivors and the decedent’s estate to recover several types of damages for their losses. For example:
- Every survivor can receive compensation for the loss of support and services from the decedent.
- Surviving spouses can recover the value of the loss of support and services, plus mental pain and suffering and the loss of the decedent’s protection and companionship.
- Surviving minor children can get damages for the loss of support and services, mental pain and suffering, and lost parental guidance, instruction, and companionship.
- Under some circumstances, the parents of the decedent can recover compensation.
- The person who paid the decedent’s medical or funeral expenses can recover those costs.
- The deceased person’s estate can recover damages for things like medical and funeral bills and missed earnings between the date of injury and death.
How to Get Help for a Wrongful Death from a Construction Site Accident
At the Montero Law Center, we understand the grief and turmoil you can experience when a loved one passes away. You do not have to sort through the legalities and figure out whether you should seek workers’ compensation death benefits or file a wrongful death lawsuit.
We will evaluate your situation and explain your legal options when we meet with you. We do not charge to provide this service to you. Call us at 954-767-6500, and we will set up your free, no-obligation consultation.