Many warehouse workers in Los Angeles, California, spend their days loading and unloading goods, which can include products such as textiles, electronics, or even produce and other perishable foods. Such workers may begin doing so with more caution after a 56-year-old worker died after being buried underneath several tons of pinto beans in the warehouse where he worked, police say. It took several people, including several rescue workers, to dig through the 20-foot pile of beans. However, when they reached the trapped worker after nearly an hour, he was already dead. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.
California law provides for workers' compensation benefits to family members of a worker killed on the job. These full or partial death benefits could include medical expenses, partial wages, permanent disability benefits and future medical expenses. Unlike a wrongful death suit, workers' compensation is a no-fault system that recognizes that accidents can happen, even if all safety standards are met -- and most employers are required to carry insurance to cover payments.
Family members may also be entitled to additional benefits beyond workers' compensation such as Social Security disability benefits, short-term or long-term disability, and disability retirement. Should the worker survive an accident, compensation benefits may be available until the worker can return to full duty.
When a fatal work accident occurs, families are not only left with an extreme emotional loss, but they may also face difficult financial challenges. In California, through a wrongful death action, spouses, minor children and other dependents of a killed worker can obtain the compensation they need for funeral expenses, medical bills from treatment prior to the worker's death and their daily needs while they grieve.
Source: MSNBC, "Pile of pinto beans collapses on Colorado man, kills him," March 16, 2012