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Workers' compensation death benefits cannot ease father's grief

A California father of an electrician assistant says the fact that his deceased son's employer received a fine of almost $40,000 does not provide him comfort because the incident that caused his son's death should never have happened. He might feel the same way about the workers' compensation death benefits for which the surviving family members might be eligible. The man says the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is glossing over his son's workplace death without providing answers about why the tragedy happened.

Cal/OSHA issued the city of Modesto four citations along with the fine. An appeal by the city was put on hold while the Bureau of Investigations is conducting a second investigation. If investigators find any proof of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the employer, the case will be turned over to the court.

The fatal workplace accident happened last April while the man's 30-year-old son was part of a crew tasked with the installation of a streetlight pole. The initial Cal/OSHA investigation determined that multiple safety violations occurred when it came to precautions against the hazards of working in proximity to high-voltage power lines. The electrician assistant was eletrocuted when one of his co-workers maneuvered the pole, causing it to make contact with the power line.

The civil justice system of California allows injured workers or the families of deceased workers to file civil claims along with workers' compensation claims. If third parties caused worker injuries or deaths, or if there is evidence of gross negligence by the employer, a civil lawsuit might provide additional financial relief. An attorney with experience in both fields of the law can assess the viability of a wrongful death claim and provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the ensuing proceedings.

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