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Pursuing a third-party claim in a fatal workplace accident

Every job comes with risks. The difference is that, in many industries, the dangers are more apparent and prevalent. In other industries, workers and employers alike tend to forget about the hazards — that is, until someone gets hurt. In fact, the possibility of a fatal workplace accident exists in many jobs, and occasionally, Mississippi workers may be reminded of that when a tragedy happens.

For instance, a pizza delivery man in another state recently lost his life during the performance of his duties. It should have been a routine delivery. After all, he was only taking the order to a building across the street from the pizza shop where he worked.

Shortly before 7 p.m., a vehicle struck the 72-year-old man. Preliminary reports indicate the 62-year-old woman driving the vehicle had attempted to avoid him but failed. He died at the scene.

This is just one example of a work-related death involving a third party — in this case, the driver of the vehicle that struck him. If this tragedy had occurred here in Mississippi, the victim’s family could seek death benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation system. In addition, his surviving spouse could also seek restitution from the filing of a third-party claim against the driver to cover damages not compensable under workers’ compensation.

Anytime a Mississippi resident loses his or her life in a fatal workplace accident, surviving family members may be able to apply for death benefits through workers’ compensation. However, if a third party was involved, such as a vehicle driver, a manufacturer, a contractor or someone else not directly associated with the employer, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim. The damages available often include those such as mental distress, loss of consortium and more that are not provided through death benefits.

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