In Pennsylvania as in all other states, a person injured or killed while performing one’s job duties is covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation payments to injured workers are paid regardless of fault. In return for a system that is supposed to pay benefits automatically for work injuries, the worker relinquishes the right to sue the employer for general damages in a tort action.
In the case of a person who is killed at work, death payments are made to the immediate family, such as the surviving spouse. These are generally made on a periodic basis just as if the worker was alive and collecting the benefits. However, sometimes such benefits are negotiated by the parties for a lump sum final payment and a total release of any further claims.
A 40-year-old Harrisburg man was killed in a work-related accident recently while operating a forklift at Dayton Parts where he was removing bundles of steel from shelving in the warehouse. The bundles weighed several tons each. The man was inadvertently stabbed in his chest by three sections of flat steel bars that had become dislodged from the shelving.
OSHA is in charge of investigating industrial accidents and enforcing the agency’s safety rules. Whenever there is a fatality, the agency investigates and issues a report that indicates whether safety procedures were followed. With respect to the workers’ compensation death benefits, the decedent’s surviving spouse or other immediate family may choose to try and negotiate a final settlement for a lump-sum payment at some point in the future. A consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney in Pennsylvania is always a beneficial way of learning all of one’s rights and options with respect to the payment of benefits.
Source: fox43.com, “Coroner identifies Harrisburg man killed in industrial accident“, Howard Sheppard, Aug. 31, 2015