What Rights Does The Family Of A Worker Who Was Killed In The Workplace Have?

Workplace accidents sometimes result in death, which can be distressing for their colleagues and the families they leave behind. In the rare case that a worker is killed in the workplace, what rights do their family members have?

In Queensland, if a worker dies due to negligence in the workplace, members of the worker’s family may be able to claim compensation for wrongful death.

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to allow the deceased’s family to recover lump sum compensation in the amount that the deceased would have provided for their family had they not passed away.

Which family members have the right to make a wrongful death claim?

Generally speaking, the children (including stepchildren) of the deceased can make a claim, as can the deceased’s spouse or de facto partner. The deceased’s children or spouse would not need to prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased in order to make a claim.

The parents of the deceased may also be able to make a claim, however, it can be more difficult for them to quantify the financial loss suffered by their child’s death, especially if the deceased was very young and was not in a position where future earnings can be projected accurately.

In addition to the family, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate is also able to make a claim.

What compensation can be sought as part of a wrongful death claim?

Although difficult to assess to an exact amount, a claim can be made for money that the deceased would have earned throughout their whole working life. With that in mind, it is important to note that only the earnings which would have been of benefit to the deceased’s spouse and children can be claimed; a claim for general living expenses cannot. However, any savings the deceased would have accumulated in their working life can also form part of the claim.

Other expenses, including the value of domestic services provided by the deceased and their funeral expenses, can also form part of the claim.

Can a claim for compensation still be made if the family will be receiving an insurance payout from the deceased’s superannuation?

Yes, it is possible for the family to make a claim for wrongful death even if they will also receive the life insurance benefit associated with the deceased’s superannuation. In Queensland, the law expressly covers this scenario and states that claimants may seek compensation even if they receive other certain payments, including government pensions, and the amount of any other payments they receive will not affect the amount of compensation awarded.

Are there any time limits to making a claim for wrongful death in the workplace?

In Queensland, a claim for wrongful death in the workplace must be made within 9 months of the death and if it reaches court, the proceedings must have commenced within 3 years of the death.

In cases where the claim is being made on behalf of children, an exception to the time limit can be made and will be extended until 3 years after the children turn 18 years of age.

For more information get in touch with Cairns Injury Lawyers today.

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