Most workplace accidents are caused by man-made items or equipment, such as ladders, scaffolds, retaining walls, saws, and drills. In a remarkable exception to this rule, a recent fatal workplace accident near Windsor, Connecticut was caused by a wholly natural object – a falling tree.
The worker, a resident of Harwinton, Connecticut, was employed by a tree trimming firm that was hired to remove trees on a private tract of land. The crew was attempting to remove a large tree when it fell unexpectedly. A large branch struck a worker on the head, causing fatal head trauma. The exact cause of the accident is being investigated by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Under Connecticut’s workers’ compensation law, the deceased worker’s survivors are entitled to benefits based upon a formula established by the legislature. The benefits include medical expenses, if any, an allowance for burial expenses, and a monthly stipend for lost income. The benefit for lost income is limited to 75% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, adjusted for federal taxes and inflation. To recover benefits, the survivors must show that the death was caused by a work-related accident. In this case, the relationship of the injury and death to the workplace can hardly be doubted.
Not all cases are so clear cut. Anyone who has lost a loved one in a work-related accident may wish to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Such a consultation can provide a helpful analysis of the facts of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering survivors’ benefits.
Source: Windsor Patch, “Windsor Police Identify Tree Worker Killed in Accident,” Tim Jensen, Aug. 7, 2017