On the evening of Saturday, October 26, Matthew Farge, a bouncer at the Green Room bar in Key West, was walking down the stairs at the establishment when he struck his head and fell. As reported by the Miami Herald, tragically, Farge passed away from his injuries after being taken to a local hospital. The incident is under investigation as an accident as it is reported that no foul play is suspected.
Unfortunately, hundreds of workplace fall fatalities occur each year. According to the National Safety Council, in 2016, 697 workers died in falls to a lower level and 134 workers were killed in falls on the same level. The most common industry for these incidents is in the field of construction. However, as we saw in the devasting Green Room bar accident in Key West, accidents at work can happen anywhere and in any industry.
In the tragic event of a workplace fatality, many loved ones are left with questions about how such an incident could have occurred as well as the reality that they may incur financial hardship from a multitude of factors as a result of their heartbreaking loss. In these circumstances, family members may choose to seek representation from a personal injury attorney and/or workers’ compensation attorney to help answer such questions and to relieve financial responsibilities.
Workers’ Compensation versus Personal Injury in Workplace Fatality Cases
Family members may have the right to pursue a claim to recover certain benefits after a workplace fatality accident involving a loved one. Workplace incidents are different than other personal injury claims because if an accident occurs during the course and scope of the individual’s work, the claim would fall under the workers’ compensation statute. However, if it is additionally determined that a third party (i.e., a party other than the employer or a co-worker), is also responsible for the accident, then the family may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death action as allowed under the law against the at-fault third party.
The loss of a loved one is often extremely difficult and stressful and can have effects on the family that last a lifetime. Our team of attorneys at Panter, Panter & Sampedro has handled workplace fatality accidents and is available to answer your questions to help you and your family to determine if you have a worker’s compensation claim, a third-party claim, or, possibly, both. We can be reached at (305) 662-6178.