A workplace tragedy raises an interesting workers’ compensation hypothetical question. It was reported that a Farmer was crushed to death by an avalanche of Parmesan Style Cheese Wheels. From the news account, it appeared that the Farmer owned the business. This fact pattern raises the question as to whether a business owner can also be covered under workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to that issue, this article will analyze the industrial causation aspect to the accident.
Would This Accident Qualify As A Workers’ Compensation Injury?
As workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system, the accident described, either accidental or unexplainable, would be considered as work-related. Workers’ Compensation Law does not require that the exact cause of injury be determined. Rather, the accident is viewed under a prism of reasonable probability. As it was most likely accidental in nature, the incident would be considered work-related. As the death was caused by the avalanche of cheese, the death would be considered as industrial.
Can An Employer Or Owner Of A Company Be Considered As An Employee Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In California, it is possible for employers to participate in their workers’ compensation claims’ policy. In order to do so, the employer should contact the carrier and make arrangements. For example, a corporation owner may take salary at the company. As such, the owner is technically an employee. If the owner chooses to do so, they would be required to pay for the insurance premium based upon their salary. Likewise, if no arrangement is made, the employer is likely to be viewed as a non-employee and not eligible for benefits.
What Death Benefits Would Be Available?
If the death was covered under workers’ compensation, the Farmer’s dependents would be entitled to death benefits. Further, burial expenses are available up to $10,000.00.
What If I Need Legal Advice?
If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 30 years. Contact us today for more information.