California families who have to cope with a family member who has suffered injuries on the job may find the situation extremely stressful. The extent of the work injury may require the victim to remain hospitalized for some time. Recuperating after being discharged from a hospital may also take a long time. During that time, the victim’s family may suffer financial hardships as a result of high medical costs and loss of income.

The severity of the situation escalates when a family member, who may be the breadwinner, dies as the result of a work injury. Such a sad situation started for the family of a 43-year-old man when he died at the grocery store where he was a janitor. The man was stacking used cardboard containers into a compactor, when the boxes jammed. He bent over to pull at the jammed boxes, and the machine’s ram came down, crushing the man to death.

It was later found that the machine had a malfunctioning locking system. There were also no warning signs posted to warn employees not to pack boxes while the machine is on. Every employee in California has the right to a safe workplace. Workers’ compensation is there to protect workers in cases like this.

While it is not possible for injured workers, or the families of workers who have died after a work injury, to claim damages from the employer, a claim may be lodged for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits generally include payment of medical or end-of-life expenses and payment for a portion of lost wages. The fact that the employer may have been cited and fined by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is irrelevant. The California family of the deceased in this case may want to retain the services of someone who is experienced in the legalities of workers’ compensation.

Source: mercurynews.com, Grocery Outlet in Redwood City fined $84,530 after janitor was killed, Bonnie Eslinger, March 1, 2014