In Ohio, all employers are required to use workers compensation. Workers who are injured on the job can use this system to cover medical costs, lost wages and other expenses after a workplace accident. However, because businesses use workers compensation, injured workers cannot file lawsuits against their employers in most cases. There are exceptions to this rule.
When Can Family Members File a Wrongful Death Claim?
An Ohio woman has filed a wrongful death claim against a Dayton recycling center after her husband died in a fatal workplace accident two years ago. The husband was helping employees at the recycling center replace metal roofing on an electrical transformer substation.
While on the job, the contractor encountered an energized electrical line and was killed. An OSHA investigation found safety violations contributed to the contractor’s death. OSHA found one repeat and eight serious violations.
According to the lawsuit filed by the contractor’s wife, the workspace and workers operating around the electrical line should have used lockout/tagout procedures. The device used to test the energized line was 15 years old and should have been removed from service 13 years ago.
In this case, the widow could file a wrongful death lawsuit because the husband was not working for the recycling company. He was a contractor employed by a different business. A possibly negligent third party may have allowed conditions that led to the worker’s death.
This example shows there may be options that exist outside of workers compensation. In many workplaces, several businesses are working alongside each other.