What appears to be a tragic workplace accident occurred recently at a construction site on I-91 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The work-related injury victim was an employee of Liddell Brothers, a company contracted by MassDOT to perform work at the site.
Construction sites can be particularly dangerous environments. According to the report, the worker fell about 60 feet from a separation in the median of I-91 and landed near a railroad track below. According to a statement released by a spokesman for MassDOT, the company that specializes in traffic services and highway construction had been hired by MassDOT to deploy safety devices to protect engineers who would be performing a bridge inspection on I-91.
The incident is currently being investigated by the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit and the Hampden County District Attorneys office. If it is concluded by law enforcement that that this was a work-related death by accident, it is certain that OSHA will also conduct an investigation of its own to determine, what, if any safety violations may have been present at the worksite or if any other factors contributed to unsafe working conditions.
As it appears to be a work-related injury, the victim's family members will be entitled to receive certain benefits through the workers' compensation system in Massachusetts. These include, but are not limited to, survivor death benefits, and reimbursement of medical and funeral expenses. However, just as Liddell Brothers can be held liable under worker's compensation for this tragic incident, if the death of this worker was caused by a contractor or subcontractor performing work at this job site, his immediate family members may be entitled to sue to recover damages in addition to whatever workers' compensation benefits they are eligible to receive.
Source: BostonHerald.com, "Highway worker, 46, dies after 60-feet fall from Springfield bridge," Ariel Rodriguez, Aug. 30, 2012