Man Dies After Elevator Accident At DFW International Airport
On September 1, 2016, NBC reported that a construction worker died after he fell into an elevator shaft at DFW International Airport.
The victim was a 55-year old construction subcontractor working at Terminal A at the airport. The area was walled off for remodeling.
The man did not die at the scene; instead, he was transported to a nearby hospital where he passed away due to his injury. The airport has since ceased construction pending an investigation of the accident.
While the reason for the man’s fall is unknown, this incident highlights a common issue seen on construction sites: fatal falls.
Falls Are Still Considered The Leading Cause Construction Site Deaths
According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death within the construction industry.
They state that in 2013 alone, there were 291 deaths. Sadly, these deaths are preventable and often attributed to incorrect safety procedures, negligent workers, or inadequate training.
Understanding How Work-Related Injuries Are Treated In Texas
Work-related injuries, regardless of fault, typically fall under workers’ compensation. In the state of Texas, workers’ compensation is state-regulated and provides coverage for injured employees.
Under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, Title 5, Subtitle A, injured employees are entitled to compensation for medical bills and a portion of their lost wages.
Not all work injuries qualify for workers’ compensation, but if an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits, they do not have the right to sue their employer.
Employers do have a level of protection against lawsuits, but this protection only extends so far. For example, when the work-related injury results in death, there may be additional options for loved ones to recover their financial losses. Family members would need to consult with a McAllen personal injury attorney to determine the right actions to take based on the situation.
Filing Third Party Lawsuits In The State Of Texas
Workers’ compensation does carry death benefits. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, death benefits may be paid to any legal beneficiaries for the loss of a loved one due to a work-related injury.
Surviving family members may also receive compensation up to $10,000 to cover applicable burial costs.
Sometimes, there is a third party that may be liable for work-related injuries or deaths – and these parties do not have the same protections as employers.
For example, in the case of the construction worker that fell into the elevator shaft, the death could be attributed to a defective safety harnesses, poor maintenance, or other faulty equipment. In this instance, the manufacturer, distributor, or even the company responsible for maintaining the safety equipment could be held liable for the injuries or wrongful death that occurred because of the defect.
Also, surviving family members may be able to file a lawsuit through a personal injury lawyer if the worker’s employer was grossly negligent. That means if the employer knew there was a potential for injury and ignored it, the deceased’s family can sue them.
Texas law does have strict limitations as to which surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit; therefore, a personal injury attorney must be consulted. For example, in the state of Texas, surviving siblings cannot file a lawsuit for the loss of their sibling (see Texas Statute Section 71.001).
Finding Help For A Work-Related Injury From A McAllen Personal Injury Attorney
If you are the victim of a work-related injury, or you have lost a loved one due to a work-related accident, a McAllen personal injury attorney can help. Speak with Tijerina Legal Group today to explore your options. Our team can assist you with requesting workers’ compensation benefits, or if applicable, filing a lawsuit against a negligent third party.