Workplace injuries can be painful and financially challenging. In minor cases, they can even be downright annoying and frustrating, limiting a victim’s ability to perform daily tasks. Yet, in some instances workplace injuries turn fatal. Victim’s families are left with a lot to cope with, chief amongst them the emotional pain felt by such an unexpected loss. In addition, victim’s families are often left struggling to make ends meet, as their lost loved one’s wages suddenly disappear with their passing.

When an individual is injured on the job, he or she can seek workers’ compensation benefits to help cover lost wages and medical expenses. In order to obtain benefits an individual needs to meet certain requirements, including that the injury was suffered while within the scope of employment. Injured workers also must notify their employers of their injury within a certain timeframe or be barred from recovering benefits. This is difficult to prove in some instances, but those surviving family members of workers killed while performing their duties, it can be easier to prove these elements.

Under Massachusetts law, a worker that is killed or found dead at his or her job shall be deemed to have been performing his or her job duties at the time of the accident. Additionally, in these cases, notice is automatically assumed to have been given to the employer and there is no fault placed on the worker which, in an injury case, could lead to a denial of benefits. These same rules hold true for those who are mentally incapable of testifying about the incident.

Losing a loved one is challenging under any circumstances. While the deep emotional pain can sear for a long time, life moves on and surviving family members must do their best to get back to their day-to-day lives. Financial challenges can impede this, which is why those who lost a loved one to a workplace accident should think about seeking out the workers’ compensation benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: Massachusetts Legislature, “Chapter 152, Section 7A,” accessed on Oct. 21, 2016