Proving negligence is one of the most important things you'll do when working with a Houston wrongful death attorney. if you can't show that the employer was negligent, then your chances of winning compensation for your loved one's death are significantly lower than they could be.
Ask a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney: How Can You Prove Safety Negligence at a Workplace?
1. Take Photographic Evidence of Unsafe Worksites
Depending on the type of worksite, you can easily get photographic evidence of the most blatant workplace hazards. Potholes, loose wiring, leaky appliances, a lack of handrails on stairs and balconies, and more are all examples of unsafe work environments.
If there's anything that poses a safety hazard to the workers, then you should get photographic evidence of it to show that the employer isn't keeping the workplace as safe as they should.
2. Get Machines Tested for Chemical Leaks
Faulty machinery in certain workplaces can emit invisible and odorless fumes that contain dangerous chemicals. These chemicals can make workers sick over time. Having machinery inspected for issues can help you prove that this machinery isn't up to code. It falls on the employer to keep this machinery safe and functioning.
3. Look at the Safety Regulations and Talk to Witnesses
Workplaces need to have safety regulations in place that employers enforce. Go over the safety regulations of your deceased loved one's workplace. Speak to your loved one's former colleagues to see if any of the safety regulations are actively being ignored by their employer. If a group of employees says the employer isn't enforcing safety regulations, then it can work as evidence to show the employer is being negligent.
4. Inspect the Safety Gear
Employers must provide their workers with the appropriate safety gear for their jobs. The safety gear must be fully functioning. For example, if employees need special gloves to handle certain chemicals, then these gloves cannot have holes or small tears in them. If the safety gear is in disrepair or it hasn't been provided at all, then it's a sign the employer is neglecting safety.
5. Ask Employees about Their Training
Employers have a duty of care to hire employees who are trained to take on the jobs they'll be doing. If applicable, workers must be provided with in-house training so they can fully understand the protocols of their workplace.
Speak to employees about the training they received before or after their hiring to see if it was up to scratch. If employees are being let work with very little or no training, then their employer is putting all the workers in danger and being negligent.
6. Perform Background Checks on Negligent Co-Workers
If your loved one's death was caused by a co-worker's negligence, then having a background check run on this individual may show that your loved one's employer engaged in what's known as "negligent hiring." One example of negligent hiring is if somebody with a terrible driving record was hired for a driving-based job.
Co-workers being responsible or partly responsible for your loved one's death is a tricky topic and can complicate the case. Learn more about this and all the nuances of work-related wrongful deaths by speaking to an experienced attorney.
What Can You Be Compensated for in a Wrongful Death Case in Texas?
1. Lost Earning Capacity
You can be compensated for any income your loved one would've earned throughout their life had a wrongful death not occurred. This may include potential pay raises, bonuses, paid time off, and paid vacation time.
2. Medical Expenses
If your loved one required medical treatment before their death, then you can be compensated for any money you now owe in hospital fees, ambulance fees, and anything else relating to your loved one's health.
3. Funeral Expenses
You must be compensated enough to pay for a reasonable funeral for your loved one. You'll most likely be paid the cost of an average funeral in your area. You'll typically have to cover any additional funeral expenses yourself if the funeral event costs more than average.
4. Emotional Pain
Your loved one left a hole in your life that can never be filled. You can be compensated for pain and suffering caused by death, and if the loved one was your spouse, then you may also win additional damages for loss of consortium.
5. Exemplary Damages
If your loved one's death was caused by gross negligence or wilful omission, then you may win exemplary damages. You may also have heard these called punitive damages.
No amount of money can ever make up for your tragic loss. However, deaths often lead to financial burdens that can be lessened by winning a settlement. Work with a knowledgeable attorney who has won workplace wrongful death cases before so you can prove safety negligence and be compensated for your loss.