A horrible incident happened at a Food Processing Company. A Processing Worker was found dead inside a kettle cooker.   The police investigation found nothing suspicious.   An ongoing investigation with OSHA is continuing.  The Deceased Worker leaves behind a wife and two daughters. dailymail.co

This article will discuss as to whether, given the facts, this injury would be considered work-related for the purposes of workers’ compensation benefits.  If found work-related, the Deceased’s spouse and daughters may be eligible for benefits.  Further, he would be entitled to burial expenses.   From the facts,  however, it is unclear as to how he ended up on the kettle.  Based upon the current investigations there is no explanation.

If There Was No Explanation As To How The Injured Worker Died, Would It Be Considered An Industrial Death?

In California, there is the doctrine of mysterious death. In the event of a mysterious death, the accident will be considered as work-related. As a result, the Deceased Dependents could claim benefits.  As per case law, it is noted in County of Contra Costa County vs. WCAB 67 C.C.C. 1614,  (writ denied), “In addition to the medical evidence supporting a finding of injury on its own, the facts of this case are those of an unexplained death, in that it is not known what decedent was doing while working when the injury which caused his death occurred. Defendant is in agreement with applicant’s position that it is unknown what decedent was doing at the time the aortal dissection occurred. The situation is similar to the facts in Clemmens v. Workers’ Comp. App. Bd. (1968) 261 Cal. App. 2d 1 [68 Cal. Rptr. 804] [33 Cal. Comp. Cases 186], wherein it was determined that in a case where an employee is found dead in the course of his employment in the absence of any evidence of what… caused the death, the employee is entitled to “a presumption or inference that the death arose out of the employment, since it is undisputed that this employment brought him to the place where his occurred.” Clemmens, supra 33 Cal. Comp. Cases at page 189. In the instant case, the death was caused by a dissection of the aorta, which occurred while applicant was at work. Accordingly, this creates a presumption or inference that decedent’s death  [**8] arose out of his employment.”

In the existing facts, it is likely that this claim would be found as work-related.

What if I Need 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 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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