A Connecticut worker was killed recently when he fell about 75 feet to the ground from a bridge during a repair project. The man was part of a crew painting the Mount Hope Bridge, near Providence, Rhode Island. The project was scheduled to be completed in September, and workers were removing scaffolding when the accident occurred, officials said.

The worker, from the small town of Bozrah, Connecticut, left behind a mother, a sister and a girlfriend. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident to see whether the project followed proper safety precautions.

When a Connecticut worker is injured in an accident at work, the injured can be compensated for medical expenses and lost wages through workers’ compensation benefits. In the case of a fatal workplace accident, the victim’s family generally can collect workers’ compensation benefits.

The worker’s compensation system is designed to take the place of a lawsuit against the employer. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, in a claim for Connecticut workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker or the worker’s family does not have to prove that the employer was negligent. However, when an employer refuses to honor a claim, the worker may have to provide evidence and take other actions to argue a case. In some cases, an investigation by OSHA can help provide evidence.

After a tragic accident in which a worker is killed, it can be difficult for survivors to think about arguing with an employer over benefits. However, the financial damages to a family when it loses a worker’s wages are real. It’s important for Connecticut workers or families who have been affected by a workplace injury to get help understanding their legal options.

Source: Providence Journal, “Mount Hope Bridge project to be delayed for days while fatal accident is investigated,” Bruce Landis, July 25, 2013