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Death benefits or an injured worker claim not always successful

After an on-the-job injury, the workers' compensation insurance fund typically covers the medical expenses and lost income of the victim. In most cases of an injured worker claim, medical care may enable workers to ultimately return to work, but this does not always happen. A death benefits claim filed by the family of a California worker was awarded by a workers' compensation judge and then overturned by an appeals court. It was reported that arguments are being prepared for presentation to the California Supreme Court following a decision to reconsider the case.

The case arose after a worker fell from a roof in 2008 and suffered injuries to his chest, back, neck and head. A workers' compensation doctor prescribed antidepressant medication that is sometimes used for the treatment of neurotic pain. Subsequently, in 2009, the worker consulted with his personal doctor who prescribed additional medication for insomnia and anxiety.

His death, six months later was attributed to the effects of the combination of different drugs, along with the onset of pneumonia. The surviving family members claim that the workplace injuries he suffered necessitated the medications that ultimately caused their loved one's death. After the death benefits claim was initially authorized, the employer appealed, claiming inadequate medical testimony. A unanimous ruling of three District Court judges overturned the decision.

A California worker who has had an injured worker claim denied, or a family whose death benefits claim was rejected, may find the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to be beneficial. The facts and circumstances surrounding the workplace accident will be assessed, and options for legal relief  will be discussed. Legal representatives will endeavor to obtain fair compensation for injured workers, including grieving families of a worker killed in an on-the-job accident.

Source:, "California high court set to hear worker's overdose death compensation situation", Accessed on Feb. 11, 2015

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