Losing your loved one to a workplace accident is devastating. You may be left with unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses and unsure where to turn for help. The workplace death attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, want to help ease your burden. We understand that hiring a lawyer and dealing with the legal aspects might not be you first thought after losing a loved one, but you deserve justice and compensation, and we want to help.
Our workplace death attorneys can help ensure you recover the maximum compensation available for your loved one’s work injuries in Washington D.C. and help you move forward with the next chapter of your lives as comfortably as possible. The attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, are:
- Proven successful in workplace death recovery. All of the attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, are experienced in litigation and negotiation strategies. This means we will never pressure you to take a settlement offer unless we truly believe it’s the best option for you.
- Dedicated to helping the families of deceased workers rebuild their lives. Our lawyers will do everything we can to make this time as easy as possible for you. If you ever need us – even once the case has been resolved – we are always here for you.
- Respected Washington D.C. workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys.
Contact Lightfoot Law, PLLC, online or by calling (831) 708-0298 and schedule your complimentary, confidential claim evaluation. There is no risk to you. We will answer your legal questions and advise you of the best action for your situation.
Washington, D.C. Workplace Death Resources & FAQs
- How an Experienced Washington D.C. Workplace Death Attorney Can Help
- Causes of Workplace Death in Washington, D.C.
- What To Do After a Workplace Injury or Death
- Updated Workplace Rules for Covid-19
- Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Death
- Deadline for Filing Claims
- Common Reasons Washington D.C. Workers’ Compensation Claims are Denied
How an Experienced Washington D.C. Workplace Death Attorney Can Help
When you retain the workplace death attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, we stand beside you from the very beginning of your claim until the completion of your case. We make sure all of your questions are answered and you are comfortable with the claims process and its proceedings.
The workplace death attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, also:
- Handle all aspects of your workplace death claim so you can focus on grieving. No matter what it takes, we will help you. We want to help you with your case from beginning to end so you don’t have to stress about the legal nuances;
- Ensure any negligent third parties are held responsible for your loved one’s death;
- Collect the evidence needed to build a strong Washington D.C. workers’ compensation or wrongful death claim;
- Ensure you receive all the workers’ compensation benefits which you are entitled; and
- Negotiate a fair settlement with or take any third party to court on your loved one’s behalf.
To learn more about the services offered by Lightfoot Law, PLLC, call our office in Washington, D.C. We will gladly meet with you by phone, Zoom or FaceTime, or in person, whichever you prefer.
Causes of Workplace Death in Washington, D.C.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, reports an average of twelve work-related fatalities throughout the United States every day. The leading four causes of workplace death annually, the “fatal four” according to OSHA, are the following:
- Approximately 36.5% of all deaths in the workplace occurred due to employees falling;
- Struck by an Object. An estimated 10.1% of deaths occurred due to swinging, falling, or misplaced objects;
- About 8.6% of employees died due to electrocution; and
- Caught-in or Caught-between. Employees caught in or between machines, devices, or tools causing death accounted for about 2.5% of deaths.
What To Do After a Workplace Injury or Death
If a loved one has been injured or passes away as a result of an accident in the workplace, the following steps should be taken as soon as possible:
- Inform the employer of the incident as promptly as possible. In order to make sure you receive all of the compensation you’re entitled to, it’s important to file this report as soon as you can. The employer is then required to report the fatality to OSHA. If you don’t report the death or you fail to report it on time, you could end up losing out on compensation that you’re legally entitled to as a result. Don’t let this happen. Let us help you take care of it.
- Complete the necessary forms. In order to receive death benefits as a result of a workplace fatality, the family of the worker must complete and submit DCWC Form 16, Notice of Claim for Death Benefits. This must be filed with the employer and the Office of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days of the death of your loved one.
- Always keep copies of each form you complete and copies of anything else you submit for your records.
Updated Workplace Rules for Covid-19
Since the emergence of the pandemic, many employers and employees have wondered if Covid-19 related illnesses and fatalities must be reported to OSHA. According to OSHA’s recent frequently asked questions page, a fatality due to Covid-19 must be reported only if the employee passes away within 30 days of being exposed to Covid-19 in the workplace. The employer is required to report this fatality within eight hours of finding out that the employee died and that the cause of death was related to Covid-19 which was contracted in the workplace.
If you have a loved one who passed away and you believe it was a result of contracting Covid-19 at work, it’s wise to contact a Washington D.C. work injury lawyer right away. The quicker you act, the better. There are certain timeframes in which everything must be handled in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation that you’re entitled to. Don’t miss out on the award you’re owed because of a technicality.
Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Death
In Washington, D.C., the surviving dependents of workers who die on the job are eligible for death benefits. Surviving dependents include:
- The deceased worker’s surviving spouse or domestic partner;
- Surviving children under the age of 18;
- Children who are incapable of supporting themselves because of a physical or mental disability; and
- Full-time students under age 23.
If there is no spouse, partner, or child who meets these criteria, it’s possible that benefits could be provided to a parent, grandparent, sibling, or grandchild who was financially dependent on the deceased worker.
An eligible survivor can receive benefits based on a maximum amount set each year that is contingent upon the worker’s average weekly wage at the time of their death. The spouse or domestic partner receives 50% of the worker’s average weekly wage if there are no children until the spouse or partner remarries or enters into a new partnership. If that happens, the survivor can receive a lump-sum payment of two year’s worth of benefits instead of weekly benefits.
If there is a spouse or partner and child, the survivor would receive an additional 17% for each child up to a maximum of 67% of the deceased workers’ wages. If the survivor remarries or re-partners, the child would receive 50% of the wages, and multiple children would receive 66.67%. If there’s a child but no spouse or partner, the child is entitled to 50% of the wages, and multiple children would share 67%.
The family of a deceased worker in the District of Columbia is entitled to funeral costs up to $5,000.
Deadline for Filing Claims
In Washington DC, you must make sure you file your claim for death benefits within one year of the passing of your loved one. Otherwise your claim will be barred if there is an objection made at the first claim hearing where all eligible parties were notified and given reasonable notice to attend. In some cases, the deadline is different, such as when the person entitled to compensation is a minor or is mentally incompetent. If you’re ever confused about the timeline or what you need to do to recover compensation that is owed to you, contact the lawyers at May Lightfoot PLLC.
Common Reasons D.C. Workers’ Compensation Claims are Denied
The unfortunate reality is that many workers’ compensation claims are denied. In order to combat this, it’s important to understand why they’re denied in the first place. If your claim was denied, you will receive a letter explaining why and detailing the decision. Common reasons that claims are denied include the following:
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, your injuries must be the result of something that occurred at or related to work. It also must not be so minor that benefits don’t make sense. If you find yourself in this position and your claim is denied, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer to see if there’s any other information you can provide that might give you the chance to collect compensation.
If you had pre-existing conditions and it seems that your injuries are actually a result of those injuries as opposed to something that occurred at work, your claim may be denied. Even if this isn’t entirely true, some employers and insurance providers will try to use this as an excuse to deny your benefits.
No medical records
One of the most important aspects of a workers’ compensation claim is medical records showing what happened, what injuries you suffered, and what effect they will have on you in the future. If you don’t have medical records or you fail to submit them, your claim could very well be denied.
Failure to report injuries on time
Finally, it’s absolutely crucial that you report your injures within the specified timeframe. If you fail to do so on time, you could miss out on compensation that you’re truly entitled to otherwise.
Your employer disputes the reason for your claim
Unfortunately, there will be times where employers deny the reason for a workers’ compensation claim as a way to try to get out of having to compensate you. If your employer claims that your injury didn’t happen at work, it wasn’t job related, or that it was somehow your fault, it could disqualify you from receiving any benefits. It’s crucial in this case to speak with a dedicated and experienced lawyer.
You Can Appeal a Denied Claim
Keep in mind that if your claim is denied, that’s not the end of it. Your experienced D.C. workers’ compensation appeals attorney can help you appeal your denied claim and fight for your rights and your benefits. It can be a long, nuanced process, so it’s really important to find the right lawyer to help.
Contact an Experienced Washington D.C. Workplace Death Attorney Today
If you lost a loved one to a workplace accident, Lightfoot Law, PLLC, wants to help you recover. We will determine your eligibility for benefits under workers’ compensation benefits and see if you qualify for a third-party wrongful death claim for losses not covered by workers’ compensation.
Contact Lightfoot Law, PLLC, online or by calling (831) 708-0298 for answers to your most pressing questions, help with financial recovery, and to get the closure you need to move forward to live your best possible life. We understand how difficult it is to lose a loved one, and we will do everything in our power to ensure you get the justice and compensation you’re entitled to.