Wrongful Death Claim Regardless of Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Nov 20, 2019

Employers nationwide, including here in Texas, must protect the health and safety of their employees. Their responsibilities include compliance with federal and state safety standards including but not limited to OSHA. Even if an employer has workers’ compensation coverage, if an employee dies due to an employer’s gross negligence, the surviving family members may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.  

A recent tragic workplace fatality in Houston may prove to be such an incident. Last week, a devoted husband and father passed away when the trench in which he was working collapsed. Reportedly, there was only one other worker on a work site where pipes were being installed. Firefighters who rushed to the scene report that at the time of the incident the worker was in a seven-foot deep trench.  

Because families in similar situations may have the opportunity to recover for their immeasurable losses beyond workers’ compensation benefits, it is always wise to consult a personal injury attorney when presented with such life altering tragedies.  

When the trench caved in, the other worker attempted to help him by using a backhoe. However, the machine’s weight caused further collapse, and the backhoe also fell into the excavation. The buried worker could not be saved, and rescue workers say they saw no shoring or other means of trench protection, which is mandatory for trenches deeper than four feet.

The life of this worker might have been saved had the necessary steps been taken to support the trench walls. The surviving family members of this worker might have questions about their legal rights. A Texas attorney who has experience in fighting for the rights of injured workers or surviving family members can answer their questions. If gross negligence on the part of the employer can be established, a wrongful death lawsuit might lead to a monetary judgment to cover documented financial and emotional losses.