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Families may seek workers' compensation benefits after deaths

Many industries involve dangerous work. As such, some of the hazards people work around every day could lead to their deaths. When Florida families lose loved ones to work-related accidents, they may be able to obtain benefits through the state's workers' compensation system.

For example, three families of men who died on the job in southern Florida back in January may receive such benefits. The accident occurred in a manhole. The first worker, a 34-year-old man entered the manhole, but soon failed to respond to his co-workers.

The second worker, a 49-year-old man, went down into the manhole to assist the first man. He, too, became unresponsive. The third worker, a 24-year-old man went down into the manhole to help the other two and also became unresponsive. When emergency workers arrived, some of them fell ill in the manhole as they rescued the men even though it was too late. All three died from exposure to carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered that the companies the men worked for failed to adhere to safety regulations regarding confined spaces. Several citations were issued and fines were assessed against the companies, but that does not help the deceased workers or their families. Even though they may now have the answers they needed regarding the deaths of their loved ones, that does not make up for their loss.

Money cannot necessarily do that either, but it could help with the unexpected financial consequences of their deaths. Some surviving family members may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits to help with burial and funeral costs, along with the loss of the victim's income. An attorney may be able to help receive such benefits and investigate whether other options for restitution exist.

Source: beta.ehstoday.com, "OSHA: Safety Failures Led to Deaths of Three Workers Who Entered a Manhole", Sandy Smith, July 19, 2017

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