With summer fully upon us in Worcester, residents are enjoying the sights of our community’s landscape. Trees lining streets and shading backyards with their canopies are a particularly beautiful aspect, but they do require some care and maintenance in order to thrive. Tree-trimming is a notoriously dangerous job, however, and workers — as well as their families — should understand their legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits, especially in cases involving fatal accidents.
One such accident recently occurred less than an hour outside of Worcester. A private tree crew was working on a tree on a Friday morning. A worker in his late forties was around 50 feet up in the tree. The crew gave him the signal to cut one large branch, but somehow he lost control of the branch and suffered a serious injury. He was reportedly hugging the tree afterwards, unable to descend by himself; in response to a coworker’s question, the employee said that he was not okay.
The work accident victim was helped down from the tree and emergency responders provided first aid, eventually deciding to send him by emergency medical flight to Boston Medical Center. Despite the care he received, he died at the hospital a couple of days later from his injuries.
Families with loved ones who are fatally injured on the job are in a difficult situation. They may have depended on the deceased for financial support; with that individual’s lost wages, they may suddenly have to rethink their entire economic foundation and future at a time when emotions are raw and all psychological resources are directed towards trying to cope and heal. Worse yet, they may find themselves on the hook for medical expenses associated with the accident. Emergency medical flights in particular can run into the thousands of dollars and may not be covered in full, or even at all, by insurance.
While surviving family members are entitled to death benefits from workers’ compensation, they may find insurance companies try to short change them. Their workers’ compensation claims may even be denied altogether. A legal professional can help protect vulnerable families and fight for their compensation.
Source: Wicked Local Boxford, “Man dies in tree-cutting accident,” Kathryn O’Brien, July 1, 2014