Mechanic Death Highlights Issue of Oakland Workplace Fatalities

We work in order to pay our bills and provide the best possible life to our families. In some cases, work is physical and can be dangerous if proper precautions are not followed by both the employee and the employer. Workplace deaths can leave a family wondering what how they will get through the emotional loss and how they will recover from financial losses that stem from the death. In many cases, a worker’s compensation claim is the primary or only recourse for a claim stemming from a workplace injury. However, our Oakland workplace death attorney can help families find all possible sources of compensation following a tragic loss.

crane.jpg
Oakland Mechanic Dies In Crane Accident
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, a fifty-one year old man died while working at the Port of Oakland on Wednesday morning. The unidentified victim was crushed while inspecting a crane at the Ben E. Nutter terminal. Peter Melton, a spokesperson for Cal/OSHA, said the man suffered head and chest injuries and died after being transported to an area hospital. A port spokesperson, Marilyn Sandifur, said that the crane belongs to Evergreen Marine Corporation. Cal/OSHA is launching an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the tragic accident.

Oakland Injury Lawyer on Liability for California Workplace Fatalities
California’s Workers’ Compensation Act, Labor Code 3600, holds employers liable for death benefits where an employee is injured in the course of employment. The death benefit applies even if the deceased employee had a pre-existing disease where the accident caused or hastened the person’s death. Under the workers’ compensation rules, the employer must also pay for reasonable burial expenses. To get these benefits, the surviving dependents must file an application and have a hearing within 240 weeks from the date of the injury (with a specific exception for asbestos deaths). Benefits apply to employees, not independent contractors, and the court will generally presume employee status unless the defendant proves otherwise.

Part of the concept behind workers’ compensation is that the rights under the system are the sole recourse for an injured worker or surviving dependent. The system claims to provide faster and more certain benefits without needing to show fault but, in return, gives up the fuller range of damages available in a traditional civil tort claim. There are limited exceptions allowing an employee or surviving relative to bring a traditional claim if there is intentional misconduct, an exception partly aimed at asbestos cases where the employer knew of the danger but did not warn the employee or remove the danger. A limited punch-press exception involves a specific issue with machinery where employers removed a piece of safety equipment to speed up manufacturing.

In some cases, the family of a deceased worker may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim and also file an additional lawsuit against another responsible party. These “third-party” cases arise when there is a responsible party other than the employer. For example, if a victim dies on the job due to a defective machine, the family may have a suit against the manufacturer of the defective product. These claims can be complex and require the knowledge and expertise of a California workplace injury lawyer.

Greg Brod is an experienced Northern California injury lawyer. Along with his team, Attorney Brod can help victims of workplace accidents or the surviving relatives of an employee killed on the job recover money damages for the loss. Call for a free consultation to explore your rights under the workers’ compensation system and other potential legal remedies.

See Related Blog Posts:

Oakland-San Francisco Injury Attorney Comments on Job Site Accidents

Oakland-San Francisco Attorney Comments on Unsafe Working Conditions