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Workers' compensation may pay death benefits to family of worker

The handling of a workplace accident in New Hampshire follows the same general procedure that is found in all other states. A workplace accident resulting in disability or death is handled through the workers' compensation insurance framework. In the case of injury and the inability to work because of a workplace accident, the worker will collect lost wages benefits for the duration of the disability, until he or she can return to work.

In the event of death resulting from a workplace accident, the workers' compensation insurer is also liable for making death benefit payments to the immediate family members of the decedent. The law provides for other benefits, such as payment of all medical bills, funeral expenses and other related costs. Sometimes, where the insurer is paying extended monthly or biweekly death benefits to the family, the insurer may make a proposal to settle the claim on the payment of a lump sum to the family.

Such offers are carefully monitored by state compensation authorities for the protection of the family from losing vital benefits. At the least, the state officials must be convinced that the settlement would be in the family's best interest. Some or all of these issues may come into play regarding the recent death of a maintenance worker who was killed in a workplace accident. The 74-year-old man died after falling from a lift outside the high school where he was employed.

In some instances, the family of the deceased worker may also be able to make a claim for wrongful death damages against third parties who are negligent or who supplied a defective product that caused the death. In this case, for example, the details are  unknown, but if the lift was supplied by a third party, there may have been negligence or product issues that would leave open the opportunity to collect for damages over and above what is allowed by the workers' compensation system. Consultation with an attorney experienced in personal injury and workers' comp claims in New Hampshire would be in order in such situations. 

Source:, "Effingham County Schools identify maintenance worker killed in workplace accident", Dec. 18. 2017

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